How was your experience with Robert Anderson at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine?
FYI, this is a detailed review. Please take some time to read it.
After experiencing 2 IVFs with 2 different fertility clinics, I learned that fertility specialists can be very different. We carefully selected our doctors by comparing published IVF success rate reports on both the US government's CDC and the SART. Even though both doctors had comparably high national success rates, my previous doctor failed us terribly while Dr. Anderson helped us toward achieving the goal of pregnancy. Here is why.
I am 39 with diminished ovarian reserve (FSH 11.1, AMH 1.33). A few hours after the very first consultation with my previous doctor, we were given the calendar of dates for the injectable, the dosage and also the egg retrieval date without her doing any physical exam or ultrasound on me. Because of her reported high success rate, I chose to trust her even though I felt I was being treated like a number. Little did I know that it was so wrong to follow a set calendar without the doctor even knowing how my body would respond to the meds. After 31 days of birth control pills (which compromised my ovarian reserve even more) and 10 days of injectable, my eggs were retrieved before they became mature (5 eggs with Estradiol 394) because the retrieval date was scheduled two months prior. All of my retrieved eggs died on Day 3. The doctor told me to consider donor eggs because she "cannot make miracles happen." We felt desperate because even the fertility specialist with a high success rate could not help us.
However, when we found Dr. Anderson six month later, it was a totally different story. There was no set calendar. Dr. Anderson did the ultrasound and blood test on Day 3 to decide if this month was a good month to start the IVF based on my antral follicle count and FSH level. Once the cycle started, I was monitored closely every other day and eventually every day before egg retrieval. Injectable dosage was adjusted based on each ultrasound and blood test. I had a total of 7 ultrasounds during the cycle compared to 4 with my previous doctor. I was given injectable for 14 days instead of 10 days with my previous doctor. With my AMH down to 0.87, Dr. Anderson managed to retrieve 8 eggs and had 3 embryos survive to Day 5 for PGS testing and 2 embryos came out with a normal PGS result. One boy and one girl! We were thrilled with the result. It was the miracle my previous doctor said she could not make happen.
Although the published success rate on CDC of both my previous doctor and Dr. Anderson are among the highest in the nation, one clinic has a false/misleading high success rate because they cherry pick patients to boost up their rate. They pick easy patients with minor fertility problems or couples with no fertility issues but need gender selection. They simply turn down patients with real fertility issues by suggesting donor eggs without trying to solve the problem. On the other hand, Dr. Anderson is up to challenges and welcome couples who are struggling with serious fertility issues. He encourages couples who have experienced failed IVFs by offering free 2nd opinion consultation. And his success rate is not compromised at all.
Dr. Anderson has nearly 30 years of experience practicing reproductive medicine. He is professional, knowledgeable, analytical, and focuses on maximizing the chance of success. He insists on the best methodology and protocol that gets the best result for each patient. He is more interested in what the best approaches are as opposed to what the patients want. The personalized, tailored approach is designed for each couple based on their unique situation. Dr. Anderson does not compromise on quality. He follows everyone's own natural cycle and initiates the treatment at the best time for the body.
Dr. Anderson himself is not only confident and straightforward, but also detailed, thorough and observant. He is very efficient and is a no-nonsense doctor. In my first consultation with him, he walked into the office and the first question he had for me was " Where is your embryo report? Why don't I see your embryo report?" Apparently he had already read through all of my files before he met me. I had no embryo report because none of my embryos survived long enough to be tested. Unlike other doctors who take time asking the same questions you had already answered on your long application form or patient portal weeks before the consultation, Dr. Anderson knows your history even before he meets you and he goes straight to the point.
Most fertility clinics have several doctors, but Dr. Anderson runs the SCCRM by himself and he performs hundreds of cycles annually. Unlike other clinics where ultrasound technicians do the ultrasounds and nurses call you for injectable dosage changes, Dr. Anderson performs almost all of the procedures himself and calls patients for dosage adjustments. Dr. Anderson is very accessible.
His care for patients is demonstrated in his effort to maximize the chances of getting patients pregnant, and not by crying along with them while talking about how hard infertility is. Dr. Anderson is there to get one job done and he does it well. He is down-to-earth and he does not over-promise or sugarcoat things.
Dr. Anderson is on the cutting edge of reproductive medicine. He travels around the world to participate and present in conferences held by world-renowned reproductive medicine organizations like ASRM, ESHRE and Instituto Bernabeu. He gathers the new knowledge and the latest technology and incorporates it into treatment for his patients in Newport Beach. He collaborates with researchers and also has an internal research program in his lab. Dr. Anderson has spent his life improving IVF success rates toward 100%.
Last but not least, Dr. Anderson holds high ethical standards. When the scandal of UCI's fertility center happened in 1995, Dr. Anderson was the only doctor who was willing to adopt thousands of abandoned frozen embryos while other doctors chose to stay clear of the scandal's taint. Without asking for a payment, Dr. Anderson and his staff then began the tedious process of trying to track down the parents of those embryos from all over the world in order to find the best disposition for the orphan embryos.
Wait time is minimal, usually less than 30 minutes. Appointments are efficient and effective. I am always in and out quickly and able to get back to work on time. Staff is very friendly, warm and accommodating. I was surprised that each staff member tried their best to pronounce my Chinese name correctly even though I have an American nickname - that shows their level of respect. It is easy to contact the nurses. If the nurses are with other patients while you call, they will call you back within a few hours. During the cycle, patients are informed of the blood test result a few hours after the blood draw. It is considerate of them to require IVF patients to have sperm frozen for backup just in case the male partner cannot produce a sample on the retrieval day. They also provide some emergency injectable for borrowing just in case patients run out of meds and are unable to get refills in time. The nurses are informative and great educators teaching patients how to administer injectable. The patient portal provides easy access to the doctor’s prescriptions, instructions, and the follicle sizes, blood test results in few hours after your visit.
IVF SUCCESS RATE
Dr. Anderson's outstanding IVF success rate can be obtained on the CDC & SART website. The number says it all. He is one of the nation's top fertility doctors with one of the highest success rates.
Unlike other facilities where one pays a package rate up front, you pay as you go during the cycle. The injectable Dr. Anderson prescribes is less pricy than the most expensive meds. Not only does the pharmacy they recommend have lower prices in the area, but it also accepts the First Steps Program which provides a 5%-75% discount off injectable based on income. No advertisements or commercials selling lucrative supplements in the office. Nurses teach patients how to collect and use the leftover medication in each cartridge, so no wasting of injectable - a money saver. It was also a plus that nurses taught me how to mix two injectable/meds together, so that I could inject less shots into myself.
Since Dr. Anderson has a personalized approach to each patient and the medication dosage is constantly adjusted according to the response of your body, it is understandably hard to predict what dosage you will need throughout the cycle. You may need to refill the injectable during the cycle. Also, the egg retrieval day depends on the growth of the follicles, so having a flexible work schedule would certainly help you. These are the inevitable trade-offs that stem from a customized treatment designed to maximize success. This is the necessary byproduct required to achieve the best result, so I am not complaining.
Lastly, I always think it is unfair to judge a doctor based on whether you become pregnant or not. Getting pregnant involves a lot of factors such us timing, your physical condition at a given point, the protocol being used, the expertise of the lab, etc. Thus, I tried to give my review in an objective way and analyzed what I have experienced in Dr. Anderson's office in every aspect I can think of. I hope this review helps people who are struggling with fertility and good luck on your journey.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Robert Anderson at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine?
It would be nice if the clinic can provide instructions which help fertility, for example food, exercise, sleep, etc. Instructions of sex during any treatment would be helpful too.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Robert Anderson at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine?
Dr. Anderson has a personalized treatment plan for each patient based on the unique situation of every couple. Staff is very friendly, warm and accommodating. I was surprised that each staff member tried their best to pronounce my Chinese name correctly even though I have an American nickname - that shows their level of respect.
Describe the protocols Robert Anderson used in your cycles at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine and their degree of success.
Antagonist protocol with Follistim to start the ivf cycle. Menopur were added later. Total 17 eggs in 2 retrievals with a low AMH 0.87.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine. (Assigned nurse: Joyce Yeh)
Nursing staff are very friendly, warm and accommodating. They see patients as friends and they really hope all the patients to have babies.
Describe your experience with Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine.
Wait time is minimal, usually less than 30 minutes. Appointments are efficient and effective. I am always in and out quickly and able to get back to work on time. Clinic is clean and organized. Warm bagels are provided on weekends.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine.
Appointments are quick and efficient. wait time is usually less than 30 minutes. The clinic is a well-oiled machine.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Robert Anderson at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine.
It is about $16K for Dr. Anderson. Not including the cost of surgical center $2K, and injectables $5K
Describe Robert Anderson's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine.
Dr. Anderson advocates " One embryo, one baby." He definitely does not want multiple embryo transfer.