How was your experience with David Barad at Center for Human Reproduction?
Dr. Barad was compassionate to me. I was of advanced maternal age when I first started exploring IVF (age 46), and I was 47 when I started, and turned 48 in the last cycle when I got pregnant (and miscarried). Other doctors in other clinics/offices mocked me or said insensitive things throughout the process. Dr. Barad also showed deep respect and connection to my Jewish path and how spiritual the IVF journey felt to me. He also told us bad news with care, even giving us metaphors for how not to become invested in the early few weeks of the pregnancy. Although it was hard information to hear, it was helpful to have the clarity.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of David Barad at Center for Human Reproduction?
Ask a lot of questions, and in particular ask the practice (Dr. Gleicher and Dr. Barad) to do everything possible even if experimental in the first cycle. I wish I had fully understood about HGH and taken HGH earlier (I only did it in the 4th cycle, which happens to be when I got pregnant). Also - do everything else emotionally to prepare and ground during the IVF cycles as well as acupuncture right after transfer.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with David Barad at Center for Human Reproduction?
Dr. Barad was the most loving, caring, honest and compassionate doctor I've ever encountered, and all the more so because he was dealing with me at such a strenuous and difficult time as doing four IVF cycles back to back when I was at a desperate last attempt to try IVF and experimental treatment at my age. He related to me so calmly and with complete presence at each appointment including each ultrasound monitoring visit, egg retrievals, egg transfers, and then when I got miraculously pregnant (I found out two weeks after I turned 48!) he was equally compassionate yet honest at our first ultrasound appointments (which looked good), and then at the sad appointments when their was not heartbeat on the date it should have appeared. He encouraged us to wait another week to see what would happen, and when we had the follow up, he was equally compassionate but honest about the ways I could choose to miscarry (D&C or natural). He gave excellent advice and I felt he was sad with us and could handle our sadness. He also followed up immediately when he had the results with a phone call to tell me the results of the genetic testing and gender, after the D&C. He was equally compassionate and caring in that call, while being honest and direct. Lastly, I brought a prayer to say on my iPhone in my first egg retrieval, and although I really didn't know him well yet, and had no idea what it would be like, he fully smiled and waited for me to read the prayer before we began. He made the whole experience life-affirming and spiritual, even when medically it was very hard.
Describe the protocols David Barad used in your cycles at Center for Human Reproduction and their degree of success.
I was advanced age (47) - I took Gonal F (I think 450cc) and Menopur (I think 150cc), micronized DHEA 75mg (beginning 3 months prior to starting cycles, using CHR's brand), CoQ10, early egg retrieval (CHR's specialty research is amazing), 3-weeks of HGH leading up to my 4th/last cycle, and 3 day fresh transfers. First cycle I got 2 eggs (1 embryo); 2nd cycle 3 eggs (2 embryos); 3rd cycle only on follicle looked big so we switched to IUI (I think I was too exhausted and not taking the meds properly so that is why that cycle failed); 4th cycle I got 3 eggs (3 embryos) - resulted in positive pregnancy test, but miscarried at 8 weeks.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Center for Human Reproduction. (Assigned nurse: Huina Zhou)
My nurse Huina Zhou was so communicative from the first email I ever got from her when she was assigned to me case. I then learned she is one of the nurse coordinators and even more appreciated how much she wrote to me with detail and communicated with me promptly and with great connection no matter what my question was. A lot of my initial questions were based out of inexperience, fear and being overwhelmed by all of the emotional, financial and medical decisions. She was incredible with in-office visits too and seemed to work all hours, and told me when I needed to alter plans or come in based on ultrasounds. She gave me encouragement to keep going and was so excited when I got pregnant, and was equally compassionate when I found out it was a miscarriage. She is an incredible nurse. The rest of the nurses also who worked with me, even the front desk people and the phlebotomists, were equally present and gave great care. My nurse Huina also followed up with all my questions or concerns immediately, even if it meant bringing my question to the doctors in their daily meeting. She always gave my case to another nurse when she was off-duty and I always felt they knew what was going on in my case.
Describe your experience with Center for Human Reproduction.
HCR gives hope and the feeling of accomplishment. Dr. Gleicher was incredible in all our Skype-calls (I was out of state). I felt they truly cared about my case. They took so much time to talk with us and help my case.
They specialized with me in care at my advanced age to try to work with my own embryos. They always were honest about prognosis and percentages. I wish I had started with them 2-3 years earlier and that I had had more money to do another cycle or to start earlier - that is my only regret. I wish there was a program for women like me to get financial aid -- at 48 when I miscarried, I would have actually been crazy enough to try again if there was financial support to do so. I got very involved emotionally wanting to make a medical miracle and be part of their project of helping so many women through IVF and fertility treatments.
This is not a weakness, but I do wish I had been encouraged by CHR to pursue more psychological care or advice to get that throughout or recommendations for mental care to support how emotional it was on all of the medications and the emotional grief of my miscarriage. I don't think I realized when I started how difficult it would be on my or my partnership, and there is not a lot of public awareness/support until I started to seek it out. I think if I wasn't so distraught and in grief after my miscarriage I might have jumped back in to try another cycle with my own eggs, or to pursue egg donor.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Center for Human Reproduction.
Monitoring was also professional. Everything was explained well, I got printouts of the images, there was a screen up above that I could see as well as the one the doctor was looking at. I did not know how often I would need to be monitored as an out of state person, so that was a little challenging at first and at times to figure out.
I never had to wait long and it felt luxurious to wait in the waiting room which had an espresso/coffee and hot chocolate machine and often croissants.
The office is in the Upper East Side of NYC and I lived 3 hours away. I would come in for appointments sometimes for the day or else stay over at a friend's. Parking was hard, until I discovered a parking garage by NYU a few blocks away.
Describe the costs associated with your care under David Barad at Center for Human Reproduction.
Unfortunately we paid fully out of pocket for treatment and medications due to my age (my insurance only covered up to age 43 I think) and so it cost us a huge amount (over $60,000 total). I was able to purchase the fertility meds needed for one cycle while in Costa Rica on a short vacation for half the cost there at a pharmacy, and for the last cycle an IVF friend donated her unused meds to me.
Describe David Barad's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Center for Human Reproduction.
CHR/Dr. Gleicher had great explanations for transferring all my fresh embryos since I only produced a few each time and since I was advanced age and didn't want to risk losing any of them through testing or freezing.