How was your experience with Alin Lina Akopians at Southern California Reproductive Center?
She seemed focused on my age. We discussed IVF, but she did not want to proceed. When the IUIs did not work out, she did not adjust my treatment, she just kept recommending IUIs. When, at her suggestion, I decided to use donor eggs, only one usable embryo was obtained. Dr. Akopians was cavalier in her delivery and attitude. I asked her why a 25-year old donor was only producing 1 usable embryo, and she said, "Sometimes, that happens." Well, it shouldn't happen when you're charging $15,000 for an unusable egg lot. It also goes against everything she told me with regard to the link between maternal age and usable eggs. If a young woman is producing good-quality eggs, then we should have more than 1 usable embryo.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Alin Lina Akopians at Southern California Reproductive Center?
Look for another doctor. She misrepresents data and does bot communicate with her patients in a timely, trustworthy, or direct manner.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Alin Lina Akopians at Southern California Reproductive Center?
I could never get in touch with her. All calls had to be routed through her staff.
Even though fertility treatments are time-sensitive, she would not respect my time. I was routinely kept waiting for IUI procedures, which take less than 5 minutes to do. One time, I waited 2 hours past my scheduled IUI procedure report time. There was no explanation as to why that occurred.
She seemed uninterested in taking the time to diagnose me or find out why the IUIs were not working (maybe due to her truancy). She tried to steer me to a different path, one that cost significantly more money, and was not attentive to my care.
Describe the protocols Alin Lina Akopians used in your cycles at Southern California Reproductive Center and their degree of success.
I went to her to undergo IVF. She said that we could try. Even though I had a low ovarian reserve, she started me on birth control (I was told by another doctor this is the exact opposite course of treatment one would take for a woman with low ovarian reserve). No surprise, I only had 2 follicles grow when I started the medication. She then told me that she would not do the IVF because she needed at least 4 follicles to "make it worthwhile." We then opted to do IUI. She had me take FSH, which is unnecessary in a "natural" cycle, as you only need 1 good egg, not multiples. That did not work out, so she recommended I go with dobir eggs, which I did. I had to take out a loan to get the eggs, and chose a healthy, 25-year old female. The paperwork they have you sign indicates you are only guaranteed one blastocyst, not a euploid embryo, which means, in layman's terms, you'll get at least 1 embryo, not a chromosomally-normal embryo, not a usable embryo. Thus, you could get an entire egg lot with no usable embryos. She never explained this to me. I had to figure it out on my own. The healthy, 25-year old donor only produced 1 chromosomally-normal embryo. That means out of the 7 eggs, only 14% were normal, a far cry from what Dr. Akopians told me and no relevant nexus between the science and the results.
She then recommended an ERA, which added on $2,740 to the costs. An ERA has not been tested significantly, and has not been shown to yield higher success rates in pregnancy. I feel that Dr. Akopians is not motivated by her success in getting patients pregnant, but rather on how much money they will spend in doing so.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Southern California Reproductive Center. (Assigned nurse: Julia )
Julia is nice enough, but in addition to being nice, you also need to be competent. Sahar was the first nurse I dealt with, and she seemed to know what she was doing. Sahar left mysteriously, with no explanation given as to her absence. No one told me she left. When I called to schedule, I was told I would now be dealing with Julia. Julia forgets things. For instance, when I had bloidwork, she forgot to tell me I had to fast, so the phlebotomist was none too happy, and informed me that if the test came back abnormal, I'd have to do it again.
When I had my IUI, she forgot to order the sperm be transferred to the lab, resulting in an hour and a half delay. She forgot to put in my prescription for progesterone to the pharmacy. Progesterone is needed for a baby to grow.
Describe your experience with Southern California Reproductive Center.
SCRC is a hotbed of incompetence. The staff all seemed stressed or overwhelmed and you can never get a straight answer our of them. They tried to charge me for procedures when I had credits pending on my account. You have to remind them of everything. When you do remind them, they get defensive, and reply in a hostile manner. They don't give you updates on care or how long you'll be waiting. One particularly frustrated nurse informed me that they usually only have one nurse, one lab tech, and one receptionist handling patients for 5 doctors. With a skeleton crew, things are going to get missed. They're going to get overlooked. People are no longer people. They are just numbers.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Alin Lina Akopians at Southern California Reproductive Center.
Strangely, even though my insurance provides for ultrasounds, they charged me for each and every one. Same goes for bloodwork. My insurance does not provide for fertility treatments, so I had to pay for that. IUIs were incorrectly charged. At one point, I was charged $345, another point, $270. Ironically, even though the IUIs are a medical procedure m, they cost less than the ultrasounds and bloodwork, which can be performed by any nurse.
Costs associated with donor egg and FET:
$15,000 for donor eggs (no guarantees)
$15,000 for egg thaw, insemination, testing, ERA, and FET.
Describe Alin Lina Akopians's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Southern California Reproductive Center.
For me, this was inapplicable, as I only had one usable embryo.
What specific things went wrong at Southern California Reproductive Center?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to order appropriate test
- Failed to convey critical information
- Scheduled the wrong procedure
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Southern California Reproductive Center.
As I mentioned before, this clinic is borderline incompetent. Schedules and timing were missed or not communicated. I received conflicting information from my doctor which I think impacted my care and my results. The nursing staff is overwhelmed, overworked, rude, or all three. The likelihood of results was not explained to me, nor was I given any explanation as to what to expect. Statistics and percentages are skewed, perhaps with the intention of giving false hope.