How was your experience with Jennifer Brown at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine?
I found Dr. Brown to be competent and sympathetic for the most part, but I experienced quite a bit of shaming around my weight from her. As in, the day that my third loss in a year was confirmed, she mentioned that maybe I should take some time off to get "the best possible environment" for transferring my last embryos as everything seemed fine except I keep miscarrying. By which she meant "lose weight" because she believes that high BMI can cause implantation problems--and she's pretty blunt about that in a "that's the science" way. That same day, she told me that if my insurance was maxed out and wouldn't cover a transfer of my final remaining embryos, they'd do it anyway. So, it's a mixed bag having her as your fertility doctor. I found her generally sympathetic and likable, and she really seems personally to want me to leave their clinic with a baby, but she has the ability to hit that sore spot (whether it's justified and true or not, being told that you being fat might be why you keep losing your pregnancies is really painful). She also sometimes seemed not to remember my exact history/background and I would have to reminder her "we decided not to do that because X, Y, Z...." Honestly, I was always happy when I was seeing Dr. Murray, her partner, instead, as I felt she was just as competent, but more sympathetic.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Jennifer Brown at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine?
Honestly, if they're at all heavy, I'd suggest they specifically ask for Dr. Murray instead. You'll see all three doctors anyway, but I think she's a better option personally (not clinically, where I'd say any of the three clinic docs are similar) for anyone who's sensitive about conversations about their weight.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Jennifer Brown at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine?
This is a small clinic (though one of only two in our state) and I consistently saw the same doctors, nurses and other staff, so all of them, including Dr. Brown, knew me well and were genuinely warm and sympathetic during the hard parts of my journey.
Describe the protocols Jennifer Brown used in your cycles at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine and their degree of success.
4 rounds of IVF, all antagonist protocol (Gonal-F and Menopur stims, Cetrotide to block ovulation, Lupron+HCG trigger) with two freeze all cycles (due to PCOS and OHSS risk).
Describe your experience with your nurse at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine. (Assigned nurse: Mo)
The nursing staff were all pleasant and competent, however some were less clear in their communication than others, so I was happy if Mo was my nurse for a given cycle, as she was always helpful, prompt providing information, and really, really nice and kind.
Describe your experience with Northeastern Reproductive Medicine.
They are really competent, and always treat you like a person--if you're "lucky" enough to spend a lot of time with them, they definitely seem to care deeply about your outcomes. But, two of the three doctors have made comments to me about my weight being the reason I can't get pregnant that have been deeply hurtful. Communication with nursing staff can be spotty (and you'll always get voicemail when calling and will have to wait to hear back).
Describe the costs associated with your care under Jennifer Brown at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine.
I had insurance (I've now met my lifetime max), but insurance paid:
$7,800-$9,900 for each round of IVF, depending on whether it was freeze all or fresh transfer cycle and whether they did ICSI or the embryos went to blastocyst before transfer/freeze.
~$2,300 for each FET (not including monitoring (2-3 visits for ~$300/visit) or beta testing (~$500 for HCG, progesterone, and estrogen))
Describe Jennifer Brown's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine.
I advocated for eSET in my initial transfers--my doctor was open to transferring multiples because of my age, but went with my choice for two rounds before deciding to move to DET.
What specific things went wrong at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine?
- Failed to order appropriate test
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Northeastern Reproductive Medicine.
I think the responsibility is as much mine as the clinic, but after my second loss, as part of a recurrent pregnancy loss panel, I had a weak positive result for lupus anticoagulant , an indicator for antiphospholipid syndrome (when combined with recurrent losses or nonpregnancy clots) -- it's supposed to be retested after 12 weeks to see if a second test confirms. My clinic told me the results, but Dr. Casson said it was probably a lab error (he'd seen two come back with this result in a week and it's rare), and gave me the option to either preventatively treat for it (don't remember how--aspirin?), test again in 12 weeks, or just assume it's a lab error and carry on with treatments. Since I thought Dr. Casson must know best, I put it out of my mind and went on with two rounds of IVF and transfers. No one ever brought it back up as something to follow up on, until I miscarried again and asked for them to redo the test. It came back with a confirming weak positive for lupus anticoagulant. We don't know if not treating for APS caused my last miscarriage or my other losses, since they were very early and may well have been chromosomal, but it sucks feeling like I might be successfully pregnant right now, if they had made sure that repeat test got done.