How was your experience with Brian Levine at CCRM New York?
Dr. Brian Levine has been by far among the highest blessings we had in our life over the course of our fertility journey. Our journey began in a state of panic when my wife learned that her ovarian reserve, her FSH levels pointed towards essentially a diminished ovarian reserve, poor egg quality that helped explained a couple of miscarriages she had naturally. Through online research, we determined that her numbers may not even qualify us for many IVF clinics because the possibility of a pregnancy was very low and naturally clinics would see that working against their success statistics. Dr. Levine didn't once use numbers to determine whether he would see us or treat us. He made the time right away and sat down with us and focused on listening to us.
At our very first appointment, Dr. Levine focused on asking very detailed questions about our history, our family history and my wife's pregnancy history. What we most appreciated was that while he clearly understood our numbers, he took the time to understand our priorities, and why the pregnancy was important to us. After listening to us for a while, he very thoughtfully pondered our options and then explained them to us. He gave us a clear understanding of our chances and then laid out a plan for how to start.
My wife and I left the office feeling hopeful that at least we were going to have a strong partner in this journey irrespective of where it led us.
Thereafter began a year long journey that started with an IUI and two IVF cycles. At each step of the way, Dr. Levine took the time to talk to us personally and explain us the process, the risks and the chances of success. He also took the time to give us clinical depth about why we were seeing certain results such as a disappointing first IUI and no embryos from the first IVF cycle.
After our first IVF cycle, we were at a very disheartening cross-road about whether to keep trying or abandon our efforts. Dr. Levine gave us not just the positive courage but a solid, scientific and statistical understanding and the exact treatment that he planned to pursue based on the learning from the first cycle. He also coordinated some natural treatment for my wife such as accupuncture and yoga where he made personal calls to the acupuncture doctor to coordinate the treatment path.
At no point did Dr. Levine pressure us to jump right into the next cycle. He cautioned towards making sure my wife's body was ready. We took our time and then resumed another cycle that commenced in a positive pregnancy for my wife (currently 11 weeks and 4 days).
Now we have transitioned to an OB GYN and Dr. Levine on his own makes an effort to stay in touch about my wife's progress.
We can go on and on but all in all i would advise anyone that few (if any) are lucky to go through an IVF and get straightforward results. It is always a journey. Every patient is unique, and brings their own circumstances. You want a doctor who is going to meet you where you are in your journey. Dr. Levine is exactly that doctor.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Brian Levine at CCRM New York?
I would say take the time to do your research and ask questions. It is important for Dr. Levine to know that you are personally engaged in the process. However, don't push your own method or agenda based on your research. Dr. Levine is experienced, knowledgeable and has done thousands of retrievals and transfers. Don't read into his youthfulness and positivism any more than he always you to leave happy from his office (no matter how hard the circumstances). He knows what he is doing, is advised by a very strong team and will keep your interests in mind.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Brian Levine at CCRM New York?
Not once in our entire experience with CCRM NY team and specifically Dr. Levine did we ever feel like a number. Every interaction whether it was making an appointment, following up on a billing question, requesting directions on medications and/or most importantly the time we spent with Dr. Levine was with utmost respect, care and compassion about our specific situation. It was always amazing to see that everyone always knew where we were in the cycle, the protocol we were following, our history and our concerns. Dr. Levine was almost never in a rush. He took the time to talk to us , hear us and always responded to our questions whether in person, via email or sometimes even text messages when we were nervous. I would go as far as saying that my wife and I felt like we were the ONLY patients at CCRM because of the love, care, and time we received. We are so grateful to Dr. Levine and his team for the journey they brought us on and the results they delivered.
<I will call out that the online survey here does not allow for "Current Active Pregnancy". As such we have selected Live Birth - Singleton as the option even though my wife is 11 weeks 4 days pregnant at this point>
Describe the protocols Brian Levine used in your cycles at CCRM New York and their degree of success.
We started with an IUI with Clomid treatment that did not result in a positive pregnancy. We were aware the chances are low.
On the first IVF cycle we used a standard protocol of Follistom, Menopur and Lupron shots every day, followed by an HCG trigger and retrieval.
On the second cycle Dr. Levine used a protocol of Follistom, Menopur, Cetrotide and Lupron towards the end, that resulted in many more eggs and higher quality as we had fertilization. Calcium and ICSi were used to help with Fertilization. Following the genetic testing, he put my wife on birth control pill for 5 weeks, with lupron shots the last 2 weeks in the evening. Leading up to the transfer and thereafter he used a combination of progresterone shots, supposetries and estrogen patches. <happy to provide more detail if you need it>
Describe your experience with your nurse at CCRM New York. (Assigned nurse: Hunter Stitzer, Elizabeth Lewis, Cara Wade and Elizabeth Katz)
The nurse, care coordinator is a crucial part of the team and the process as you go through an IVF cycle. At CCRM we found the staff to highly professional, well trained, caring and most importantly very responsive to all our questions. The nurses always took the time to explain the treatment, laid out a specific calendar customized just for my wife, and did a great job of giving us instructions based on her blood work after each visit.
I really can't think of any weaknesses. On occasion the timing of instructions could get a little delayed because they received the blood from us late and/or it was very busy. However, they maintained a very high standard of always getting us instructions for treatment every day.
As anyone who has been thru this journey would tell you - needles become your close friends, and often an unnerving part of the process. The nurses at CCRM showed us and even at times administered the shot for my wife so i can see and then follow at home.
When my wife finally got a positive result, the team at CCRM reached out personally and congratulated her and gave her very warm greetings. It just goes out to show that these are people who really love what they do and want every patient to go home with the results they want. They make each patient feel like they are the only ones at CCRM.
The best part about this team was that they all backed each other up and everyone knew our history and our protocol. There were 4-5 nurses but each of them knew our case, and any one of them could answer our questions. That was tremendous. It also helped if any one person was out of office.
Describe your experience with CCRM New York.
I'll say that the clinic itself is only as good as the people and doctors that work there. To that end, all my comments to now about Dr. Levine, his team and his nursing team truly speak for the value and experience of CCRM NY.
With that said, the clinic has amazing facilities. They are located well, easy to get to (particularly when you have to go there frequently), have world class facilities and a very good embryology team that is very responsive when you are trying to get a daily status on the embryos development.
Another SUPER important member of the team were Stephanie and Gina, the front desk team that booked our appointments and checked us in. They were superb, and always very accommodating of our schedule. They were often the folks we interacted with the most and we really loved our experience with them. I would be remiss if i didn't acknowledge their contribution and support on our journey.
CCRM NY just opened in New York a few years ago and so i can imagine that as time goes and they grow more, they will likely need more space and facilities.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Brian Levine at CCRM New York.
$21000 for a single cycle retrieval and transfer all the way up to first ultrasound. The costs were split usually as approximately $8000 for transfer and supporting protocols, and $11000 for retrieval, and about $1000 for anesthesia during retrieval. This does not include cost of any injectable hormones or post-transfer patches/supposetries.
Describe Brian Levine's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at CCRM New York.
Dr. Levine did not have a preference. We approached him with a desire to have one child as a sibling for our son who was born six years ago.