Describe your experience with Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology.
It's a small clinic, where there is only one doctor and you'll meet every staff member. Even if the doctor forgets your name periodically, the rest of the staff will know you personally and make you feel welcome. The personal touch is really important for something as emotional as this.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Michael Blotner at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology?
Although Dr. Blotner has a somewhat gruff demeanor, he truly cared and wanted our success as much as we did. He expressed frustration at our failures and encouragement at our continued attempts. He gave us a discount when our insurance denied our claims. The thing that stands out the most is that when we failed with donor eggs, he connected us with a couple willing to donate embryos, above and beyond what he needed to do.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
They all had their strengths and were friendly and warm. Donna was the best at drawing blood and keeping a sense of humor. A new person had started during my last cycle, I forgot her name. She was less skilled but nice. Natasha was really more of a physician's assistant, but she was very friendly and followed up with me with all my questions. Val the ultrasound tech was kind and efficient.
What specific things went wrong at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
- Failed to call with results
How was your experience with Michael Blotner at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology?
Dr. Blotner has an absent-minded-professor air, and I joked that he seemed not to remember me each time I saw him, but I still found him caring and very careful to craft a protocol specific to my circumstance. My first cycle was off-putting because I didn't know anything and he seemed surprised at this, but later I realized that most people do go through multiple cycles and know the ropes and don't need the same explanations that a first-timer craves. Once I was more experienced, I appreciated that Dr. Blotner was spending his energy trying to solve our problems and give us the best possible outcomes.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Michael Blotner at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology?
Don't expect Dr. Blotner to explain the basics of IVF to a first-timer. He's not very good at that. If you're past that first time, he will treat you like an investigative partner into the mystery of what you need to conceive.
Describe the protocols Michael Blotner used in your cycles at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology and their degree of success.
Because this is a small clinic, Dr. Blotner wants everyone on the same cycle. A cycle would start the month prior with estrogen and progesterone pills in lieu of birth control pills (because I get migraines on bc pills), with some Lupron at the end to ensure I menstruated at the target time of the month. I'd go in on day 3 and start stimulation meds. For me, I also used human growth hormone on some cycles to improve egg quality. I had good response to the stimulation meds and we'd start low and not necessarily raise the quantity. On different cycles we used different combinations: Follistim, Ganirelix, Menopur, etc. I'm sorry, I did it so many times, I don't remember the details.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology.
Monitoring was first-come, first-served in the morning. Officially the clinic opened at 7:30am, but Donna the nurse would come at 7am and we all knew that. The women who needed to commute to Manhattan would arrive at 6:30am to be at the front of the line before Donna arrived. The ultrasound tech would arrive at 7:30, and that's what took the longest. The doctor would arrive closer to 8am, which meant I sometimes skipped seeing him in order to make my train to Manhattan.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Michael Blotner at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology.
A full out-of-pocket cycle with medication, including my husband's ICSI retrieval and embryo fertilization, cost about $22K. We were covered by insurance for some or part of some cycles, so not every cycle cost that much. When embryos failed genetic testing (another $2200) and we canceled the transfer, we were able to apply that credit towards a future cycle.
Describe Michael Blotner's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Westchester Fertility and Reproductive Endocrinology.
This was something we discussed the first time, before we knew what to expect, and our wishes were not to transfer more than two at once. However, as it happened, we never had more than two in any given cycle. I think Dr. Blotner would have been open to transferring more if we had wanted that.