We sadly did not feel like a patient or like a human while treated by Dr. Makarov. I don't think she remembered the details about my case or situation. I often had to remind her of my situation. I very rarely saw her during office visits...[she] called me hours late for phone appointments...Multiple times, I would find out that the "plan" and course of treatment we had agreed upon, was no longer an option and was completely off the table
The office [at New Hope Fertility Center] unfortunately did not stagger monitoring appointments...Many of us would arrive around 6am and wait outside until the building was unlocked, then wait in the lobby to take the elevator upstairs, then wait in the waiting area...very disingenuous in the claims they make about treatment options and then the actual treatment they put you through
How was your experience with Jennifer Kulp Makarov at New Hope Fertility Center?
The first time we met with Dr. Makarov in a consultation, she seemed gentle which I really appreciated. She walked us through her suggestions for treatment and highlighted some of the treatments and procedures that her practice was known for and some things they were "pioneering". We were really drawn to the non-invasive and gentle way they claimed to approach infertility treatments. Initially she claimed, that I would only take oral medications and then 1-3 injections total for an egg retrieval cycle. She explained a new fertilization process that they use that is less invasive to the egg when injecting it with the sperm. And she explained that they only use local anesthesia for egg retrievals which is more gentle on the women's body as you don't have to be completely knocked out. I was really drawn to all of these claims as my partner and I have MFI and I am fairly young so I didn't feel that I needed the most invasive and intense treatment right away. Sadly, every single one of the claims Dr. Makarov made ended up being false and I didn't find out until right before the course of treatment or procedure. For example, right before I began my egg retrieval cycle, I was told I would actually be doing multiple injections/day. I was confused as I had been told there would only be oral medication plus 1-3 injections toward the end of the cycle. At that point, I wasn't too upset and I followed all the instructions of course. Then, a couple days before the egg retrieval procedure, I asked about the less invasive form of fertilization that Dr. Makarov had claimed we could utilize and she said "oh that is just experimental; we can't do that". I was really caught off guard as this was one of the primary reasons we had even selected this clinic, but since we were just a couple days out from the procedure, we moved forward. Then I went to sign the paperwork for the anesthesia for the procedure and I asked if I could do local anesthesia as Dr. Makarov had described to me. The nurse responded by saying "I don't think you'll be able to tolerate the pain; you should just get fully knocked out". I was again completely taken off guard and now I was too scared to do local anesthesia only after this nurse told me the pain would be unbearable so I of course opted for full anesthesia.
The first egg retrieval cycle completely failed. We retrieved 11 eggs but 0 made it to blastocyst. We had thought that we would perhaps switch up my treatment plan for the next cycle since the first one completely failed. And when I spoke to Dr. Makarov on the phone, she said that we would do things differently. But when the time came around, they put me on the exact same treatment plan and medication list as the first time. I tried to keep asking why we weren't switching things up like Dr. Makarov said we were going to, but I was just told "this is what Dr. Makarov is prescribing you." It made me feel like she completely forgot about my previous cycle and my situation as a whole.
The day of the second egg retrieval was extremely upsetting and stressful and was the "final straw" for us in deciding to switch clinics and doctors. The entire cycle leading up to the second egg retrieval, I had been trying to stress that we would like to use a different vial of frozen sperm from my husband to inseminate the eggs. My husband froze sperm before his cancer treatment and that was what we were using for IVF. The first egg retrieval cycle (which failed), the lab used one vial of sperm and none of the eggs made it to blastocyst. I wanted them to use a different vial of sperm for the second retrieval as we had no shortage of vials and we felt that there was no point to keep trying with a vial that obviously hadn't worked from the first cycle. The embryologists really wanted to just keep using the first vial again. I believe their thinking was they wanted to preserve the vials of sperm for us for future use but we have 20+ vials frozen so we were comfortable using a second vial for this cycle. But the embryologists essentially put their foot down and refused to use a second vial. I had to try to get Dr. Makarov to intervene and speak to the embryologists on our behalf so that they would follow the instructions and use a second vial. The morning of the retrieval, I was thrown back and forth between nurses and staff trying to explain what we needed and trying to get Dr. Makarov to instruct the embryologists downstairs in the lab. Dr. Makarov completely avoided us and wouldn't speak with us. Finally, one of the PAs made a phone call and then rushed me back downstairs as my procedure was scheduled to begin in 5 minutes. It was just a really stressful way to go into a procedure and we felt that we couldn't trust the staff at the clinic or the lab after that. As I mentioned, that was the final straw that led us to switch doctors and clinics. Dr. Makarov didn't perform either of my egg retrievals.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Jennifer Kulp Makarov at New Hope Fertility Center?
I truly can't recommend that anyone see Dr. Makarov. Luckily there are lots of other great fertility doctors in the New York City area and I hope that any prospective patients will take these reviews into consideration when making their decision. Don't be swayed by their claims of new and non-invasive treatments as they do not follow through.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Jennifer Kulp Makarov at New Hope Fertility Center?
We sadly did not feel like a patient or like a human while treated by Dr. Makarov. I don't think she remembered the details about my case or situation. I often had to remind her of my situation. I very rarely saw her during office visits - perhaps two times after the initial consultation over the course of 4 months. And the couple times that I did see her in the office, she was very rushed and unorganized and didn't seem to know what was going on with my cycle. She gave me a lot of contradicting information which was really frustrating and hurtful. Multiple times, I would find out that the "plan" and course of treatment we had agreed upon, was no longer an option and was completely off the table. Essentially, the reasons that I picked this clinic, ended up not being options. I felt tricked and manipulated and had I known they were going to backtrack on most of their claims, I wouldn't have come to this clinic in the first place. I do understand that there has to be a high level of flexibility with these types of treatments as you are being monitored and as the doctors see how things are progressing. But overall, I felt that Dr. Makarov and this clinic were very disingenuous in the claims they make about treatment options and then the actual treatment they put you through. Aside from visits in person, I was also dissatisfied with the way I was treated when I had phone appointments set up with Dr. Makarov. She would frequently call me up to 8+ hours late and made me feel like I was an inconvenience. Once when I tried to ask follow up questions following a failed procedure, she told me she couldn't answer any detailed questions because she was driving. It was hard to work my full-time job when I was constantly waiting on a phone call that was pushed and pushed throughout the entire day.
Describe the protocols Jennifer Kulp Makarov used in your cycles at New Hope Fertility Center and their degree of success.
For both my egg retrievals with Dr. Makarov, I was on Clomid (oral), Letrazol (oral), and Gonal-F (injection). I triggered with Ovidrel once and Lupron once. I also took Orilissa to prevent premature ovulation.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff at New Hope Fertility Center.
I concluded that the nursing staff was simply too overworked and overbooked to do a good job. They were incredibly unorganized and made a lot of mistakes but I truly think think this is because they were overworked and understaffed. Every morning for monitoring, there would only be one nurse in charge of doing the blood work for every single woman who came in. And they didn't stagger appointment times for blood work. It's just first come, first serve. So everyone would arrive at 6am, stand outside until the building doors opened at 6:30am, then stand in the lobby and wait for the elevators, then go upstairs and wait in the waiting area. I think that they simply had too many patients at one time because I would often have to wait up to two hours just for routine bloodwork and monitoring. The one nurse who was in charge of bloodwork for everyone was awesome. She was so quick and kind and attentive. But she was just way too overworked and they should have had 3-4 nurses doing her job. There was plenty of space for more; there were 3 chairs for drawing blood but they only ever used one.
Otherwise, the nursing staff all seem like nice people but they just must be poorly informed because I would often receive incorrect instructions related to my medications from my nurse! And I would have to call her out and remind her that Dr. Makarov had actually said I would be taking another medicine. And she would say "Oh yes, ok take that medicine then." I did not feel that they were thorough or organized.
Describe your experience with New Hope Fertility Center.
Overall, the clinic's biggest weakness and the reason we decided to switch to a different clinic/doctor is that they do not follow through on the things they claim. Additionally, it would be great if they could be a bit more organized in regards to appointment times to cut down on the hours of waiting for routine monitoring appointments. And finally, the communication was really non-existent. Very hard to get responses out of anyone and unclear who I should be reaching out to with questions.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at New Hope Fertility Center.
The office unfortunately did not stagger monitoring appointments, so a large group of women would show up quite early in an attempt to get in early. Many of us would arrive around 6am and wait outside until the building was unlocked, then wait in the lobby to take the elevator upstairs, then wait in the waiting area. The longest I waited for monitoring was 2 hours.
Describe Jennifer Kulp Makarov's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at New Hope Fertility Center.
I believe that Dr. Makarov recommends single embryo transfer which is what I wanted and so I was happy with approach.
What specific things went wrong at New Hope Fertility Center?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to send your chart to another clinic
- Failed to inform you of changes in protocol
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at New Hope Fertility Center.
A few more specific area of pain were...
* it was very difficult to get this clinic to send my records over to my new clinic when I decided to switch. I had to call for weeks to try to get through to the right person who could fax over my records and I was frequently referred back and forth between departments.
* I was instructed to take the wrong trigger medication and I had to correct the nurse.
* Dr. Makarov called me hours late for phone appointments. I do understand that as a doctor, her schedule isn't always predictable. But I think if she is going to call 8+ hours after our scheduled phone appointment time, the office should notify the patient so they aren't waiting on the call.