Describe your experience with Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology.
As discussed in depth before, my experience with the doctor was terrible. However, the nurses were all nice, caring, organized, and good at what they did. The embryologist was skilled and explained things. The office staff rarely pick up the phone however, and it is hard to get questions answered after hours. I rarely got results in a timely manner and constantly felt like I was pestering the office to get normal care.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Michael Blotner at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology?
I think the doctor thinks he treats people like humans, but my experience was distressing. I was first diagnosed by him with PCOS in 2016. He did not explain this condition at all to me and simply said I may need help getting pregnant. I had to find out more about the condition through google, as getting information out of him was difficult. When I went to him in 2017 with a spontaneous pregnancy, he never called with results when he was supposed to. This was very distressing as I had issues with the pregnancy that needed to be addressed in a timely manner. I ended up crying on multiple occasions because I felt ignored and forgotten, was afraid of losing the pregnancy, and he did not like to explain or discuss things. I ended up miscarrying the pregnancy (which was unavoidable-- I don't blame him for that). He did not give me options with the miscarriage, only said I had to have a D and C and did not tell me any associated risks. I had to look up all of this information myself. From what I read, cytotec sounded like a better option for me to try first. When I asked him about this, he responded with what sounded to me like anger for not going with what he recommended. He did let me take the cytotec but said it would be very painful then refused to prescribe pain medications (said extra-strength Tylenol would be fine). The cytotec worked very well for me and got everything out quite quickly. After the miscarriage, I started fertility treatments with him because I did not ovulate on my own after the miscarriage. I felt like he never gave me options or told me what would happen next and he usually did not listen to my concerns. I always left appointments with him feeling stressed and upset. He pushed me to injections (which quickly led to overstimulation and IVF rescue) quickly after clomid failed for me, making it sound foolish for me to want to explore other options, first. I often felt like crying after appointments with him. I often felt like their were holes in my care because he kept getting me confused with other patients, thinking we had already done certain treatments before and not wanting to give me instructions for treatment, convinced he had already done so previously.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The nursing staff was another thing that kept me at Dr. Blotner's for a while. The nursing staff was always caring and considerate. They were organized, hard-working, detailed, and compassionate. Blood draws were always quick, easy, and relatively painless here (which is a feat because at other places I have a reputation for terrible veins). Even though the doctor often did not call me back when he was supposed to, they really tried to get him to call with results. The embryologist was top notch.
What specific things went wrong at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology?
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to send your chart to another clinic
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
- Failed to consider drug intolerance
How was your experience with Michael Blotner at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology?
One strength about Dr. Blotner and the reason I stayed with him so long despite the negative experiences is that he is very good at accurate diagnoses. He diagnosed me with two conditions that all of my previous Ob-Gyns had missed and further time without those diagnoses would have been a problem. He also insisted before treatment that I see a hematologist about a condition that showed up in a genetic screen that could actually have an effect on my health and it is a good thing he did. However, overall my experience with him was very negative. I often felt like he was rushed and could not be bothered to explain conditions or options to me. He often made me feel bad for asking questions or seeing if we could look into another option. He often gave the impression that he saw me as unintelligent and unable to understand details of my treatment (which he often failed to provide unless pressed, and even then, reluctantly). He often got me confused with other patients and assumed certain things had already been done in my care, making me feel like there were components missing in my care. He often ignored medical literature that did not fit with the way he understood the mechanisms to work and relied on poorly done studies that were not verified. He always portrayed everything as black and white with no controversies or options. He rarely told me about medical risks. He never even mentioned the possibility of overstimulating on injectables (but thankfully someone outside the clinic had warned me that it could happen), which ended up happening to me in a nightmarish manner (last minute IVF rescue, moderate OHSS). I think my OHSS could have been prevented or at least less severe if he had prescribed cabergoline before the retrieval and done a Lupron only trigger. I feel that I was hurt by the way he runs his practice multiple times and in many ways.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Michael Blotner at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology?
Honestly, just don't go to him. I really wish I had not.
Describe the protocols Michael Blotner used in your cycles at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology and their degree of success.
He started me on Provera to induce a period because I was not ovulating and to make sure my lining was starting at a neutral place. He then started me on 50 mg clomid. 50 mg clomid did not stimulate, so he stair-stepped me using 100 mg clomid next. It still really did not stimulate so he gave me 50 iu gonal f per day which finally stimulated. I then got an early LH surge so he had me trigger than put me on progesterone suppositories (he did not explain why). This cycle ended in BFN. He wanted to do combined clomid and injections for future cycles, but the side effects from the clomid were dangerous for me. He then said letrozole would not work for me because it works through lowering estrogen and my estrogen was already low without stimulation (we have since tried this at a new clinic and it has proven to be untrue-- I have now ovulated 3 times on letrozole at my new place, twice with at least 2 lead follicles, with minimal side effects). We then started a gonal f injections only cycle because I was lead to believe letrozole was not an option. He started me at 50 iu. No response. Then upped to 75 iu. No response. Upped to 100 iu. Minimal response. He then increased to 150 iu. That finally got a good response, but suddenly small follicles shot up and soon enough it became clear we had to either cancel the cycle or convert to IVF. We converted to IVF because it appeared our only option to stimulate was injections and the lowest working dose of injections for me led to this overstimulation, making it appear that future attempts would have similar results. He gave me a Lupron and low dose hCG trigger. I am not sure why he did not give me cabergoline before the retrieval or do a Lupron only trigger as these things would have reduced the chances and severity of OHSS despite the fact I was clearly high risk for it (43 eggs retrieved, estrogen very high, young age, PCOS). I developed moderate OHSS a few hours after the retrieval. I was in severe pain, vomited whenever I got up, and had trouble moving (even started to have trouble breathing before things started to improve). It was the worst experience of my life. I ended up getting a UTI after because it was so difficult for me to use the restroom. I had my embryos PGS tested because he claimed it would increase our chances of a successful transfer and would decrease our chances of another miscarriage (turns out for my age, under 30, there is no benefit to PGS so I wish we had not wasted our financial and emotional investment on this). Before transferring an embryo, he did a mock transfer (which went smoothly) and an endometrial biopsy to test for endometritis and other things. We had one FET of a PGS normal embryo. It failed (technically chemical pregnancy with a positive home pregnancy test that led to negative bloodwork by the time I had the beta). He then planned to do an EFT to see what went wrong, but I do not think this makes sense based on the medical literature. We then switched clinics.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology.
It was always a very long line when you go at the beginning of monitoring hours (later is faster, but even more disruptive to your day). I would miss hours of my mornings from appointments (about 45 minutes before the blood draw and some time after that before the ultrasound and a long time before seeing the doctor to discuss the results/changes in treatment plan). I missed several meetings and several hours of work. They did give the option to leave after the ultrasound instead of meeting with the doctor, but even with that option, it was a very long time. I never chose that option because he was terrible about getting back to me with results.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Michael Blotner at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology.
Thankfully. my insurance covered all bloodwork, ultrasounds, mock transfer, semen analysis, and endometrial biopsy. I had to pay for the IVF. It was ~$15k not including anesthesia and PGS testing. In total with meds, PGS, ICSI, anesthesia, and all we paid about $25-30k from a single round of IVF and one transfer.