Describe your experience with Columbia University.
Columbia seems to have made an effort to cut down on wait time. I never had to wait more than 10 minutes--very important when you're trying to squeeze these appointments in before work.
All the doctors I saw for ultrasounds seemed very kind and knowledgeable.
The financial coordinator overall was very helpful, but my one complaint is that I sometimes had to email repeatedly to get the information I needed.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Eric Forman at Columbia University?
Dr. Forman goes above and beyond to answer every question you have, consider all your specific circumstances, and give you as much information as you need. He's very professional and can report results in a straightforward manner, but he also understands what an emotional rollercoaster IVF is and makes himself extremely available for his patients.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Columbia University.
Wonderful! Jenny did a lot of my blood draws and gave me such comfort during those 7 a.m. needle in the arm appointments (and also never left a bruise).
Christine and Tiffany did a lot of the communication about medication and appointments and were clear and prompt.
What specific things went wrong at Columbia University?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
How was your experience with Eric Forman at Columbia University?
Dr. Forman is the best doctor I've had across the board and has elevated my standards for medical care. Never before had I met a doctor who emailed me back (from his direct email, not through some labyrinthine portal system run by a staff person) always within the day, often within the hour, and sometimes within minutes! He made it a priority to do my transfer himself and did two of my three retrievals; for the one retrieval he couldn't do, he called me the night before to go over what to expect and check if I had any questions. When my first retrieval didn't yield the desired results, he spent an hour on the phone with me to review what had happened and discuss protocol shifts. He validated my frustration but also left me feeling hopeful and, sure enough, the next outcome was better. He also was willing to share as much information as my neurotic brain required, including sending me my follicle measurement and hormone level charts, doing side-by-side comparisons of rounds, etc.
Even after I got pregnant and "graduated" out of the IVF clinic, when I reached out with a concern Dr. Forman quickly offered me an appointment and had me in for a blood draw to confirm that all was okay. I ended up doing a CVS to confirm the PGD/PGS testing (the reason we had done IVF), and while I was no longer officially his patient at that point, he still reached out beforehand to wish me luck and later followed up to ask how it went.
While Dr. Forman is not overly demonstrative and his manner didn't at first strike me as super smiley or warm, he shows his care through his actions and patient outcomes. With a process as emotionally challenging as IVF, he's the doctor you want managing your treatment. I can't recommend him highly enough.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Eric Forman at Columbia University?
Ask him everything. He is extremely knowledgeable and can give you as many detail as you want but won't overwhelm you with jargon if that's not your speed.
Describe the protocols Eric Forman used in your cycles at Columbia University and their degree of success.
We saw Dr. Forman for IVF with PGD after learning I carried an x-linked disease. He was willing to do a repeat genetic panel to confirm the diagnosis.
We eventually did three rounds of stimulation drugs:
Round 1 - 150 Follistim and 150 Menopur, then Ganirelix, then 10000 HcG.
Yield: 14 eggs, 7 mature, 6 fertilized, 2 made it to blastocyst.
Round 2 - 300 Follistim and 150 Menopur, then Ganirelix, then 5000 HcG and Lupron (dual trigger)
Yield: 15 eggs, 7 mature, 7 fertilized, 6 made it blastocyst.
Round 3 - Estradiol to suppress before starting (because I'd had a leading follicle in between rounds that led us to delay). Same medication regimen as Round 2.
Yield: 25 eggs, 15 mature, 13 fertilized, 7 made it to blastocyst.
The thinking was that increasing the stim dosage would improve possibly both my egg yield and the number of embryos that made it to day 5. The thinking behind the Lupron was that it might help my egg maturity ratio. Neither was a perfect fix, but the results kept improving overall, so we were pleased. We had to do three rounds because few embryos passed both the PGS and PGD testing, and we wanted to do a transfer with a couple embryos banked.
Before the FET, we did progesterone shots and estrogen pills, and the first one took!
Describe the costs associated with your care under Eric Forman at Columbia University.
$3K to develop a genetic probe
$3K for PGS/PGD testing of up to 12 embryos
$10K out-of-pocket in meds for three retrievals, 1 transfer, and hormones for first 10 weeks of pregnancy
My insurance miraculously covered my three retrievals and transfer with copays, which I'm still adding up--but are probably around $600 (as opposed to the $10K I feared)
Describe Eric Forman's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Columbia University.
Dr. Forman I believe is a pioneer in eSET and strongly believes in this approach.