How was your experience with Carla DiGirolamo at Boston IVF?
Dr. DiGirolamo was very informative, straightforward, and matter of fact. She was compassionate and empathized with us, but focused discussions on the treatment. My husband likes numbers, facts, statistics, and focusing on the problem at hand while I prefer doctors who are friendly and make me feel like I matter. Despite these differences in preference, my husband and I both really liked Dr. DiGirolamo.
She frequently let my husband and I discuss our options while she just listened quietly. She wouldn't interrupt us unless we asked her a question or she had relevant information to add. Also, she never tried to push us toward one treatment or option. She simply gave us the facts and let us make our own decision.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Carla DiGirolamo at Boston IVF?
Make sure you write down your questions beforehand and ask everything you want to know more about. Sometimes she seems a bit rushed, but she will always take time to answer all of your questions and explain anything you don't understand.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Carla DiGirolamo at Boston IVF?
The doctor gave us the information we needed to make decisions and was not judgmental. She empathized and answered all of our questions. She did seem a tiny bit rushed at times.
Describe the protocols Carla DiGirolamo used in your cycles at Boston IVF and their degree of success.
I did 2 rounds of IVF. The first cycle I used birth control pills for a month and then I think I did Lupron and Gonal-F injections once a day. The first cycle, many of the eggs retrieved were immature. Only a few embryos made it to Day 3 and we got a negative pregnancy test. Because of the low number of mature eggs, she changed my protocol for the second cycle.
The second cycle I did not use birth control pills (she said it would suppress me too much). I forget what meds I used. During the stimulation period I had to do a micro-dose injection twice a day (Lupron?) and another injection (Gonal-F) once a day. I also had to wait a few hours longer between my trigger and retrieval than the first time, to let my eggs fully mature. I am now 14-weeks pregnant with a single baby.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
There were maybe 2 or 3 people on the nursing staff that I dealt with frequently and then another 3 to 6 people I dealt with just once or twice. It was hard to keep them all straight. They were generally friendly and informative. My only way to contact them was by phone and they didn't always pick up, so that was annoying, especially since infertility patients often have questions and are worried about everything. When I got a call about the test results (the negative and later the positive pregnancy test), the nurse who called with the news seemed genuinely disappointed/excited for me.
Describe your experience with Boston IVF.
I think the clinic recently changed ownership and their policies and procedures have changed for the worse. I had 2 IVF cycles (2 retrievals, 2 transfers), one in late 2016 and the other in early 2017.
The first retrieval/transfer felt much more patient friendly than the second one. For the second retrieval, I felt much more like I was a number and they were trying to rush me out of there. An example is the first time they let me stay as long as I needed to recover and made sure I could pee before I left. The second time they got me out the door soon afterwards.
The first time they had snacks in the waiting room and let me eat and drink as much as I wanted during recovery. The second time they still gave me a snack, but it was much more limited. They also used to have water and snacks in the waiting room for transfers and retrievals, but they didn't the second time I went. There wasn't even a pitcher of water in the waiting room anymore (which seemed silly since you're supposed to drink lots of water before a transfer).
There were lots of little changes like these that felt like they were just trying to save money and made me feel like a number instead of a person. None of these things were deal breakers for me or that big of a deal, but it was disappointing to see these kinds of changes.
A strength of the clinic is that it seemed to be pretty state of the art and technically advanced (although I don't know how it actually compares to others). The clinic also felt professional and like a well-oiled machine (which can be a pro and a con).
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Boston IVF.
The monitoring appointments were conveniently scheduled in the morning, so I could go before work (I think the hours were 6-9AM).
It was kind of confusing how they scheduled the appointment times. They asked you to schedule a specific time, but then it was mostly just first come first served. It seemed like they didn't really care what time you were there during that window. For ultrasound appointments they seemed a bit more strict about the appointments and schedule. The blood work was kind of a free for all (first come first serve).
Most of the time I only had to wait a few minutes (less than 10) to do the monitoring. Two or three times I had to wait for about an hour.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Carla DiGirolamo at Boston IVF.
For each IVF cycle, the clinic charged $9000. My other costs (appointments, genetic testing, infertility testing, etc.) were a total of about $300 after my insurance coverage.
Describe Carla DiGirolamo's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Boston IVF.
My doctor did not say much of anything about this issue. I had done a great deal of research about it beforehand, on my own, and was strongly in favor of doing a single transfer. Maybe the doctor didn't discuss it with us because it was clear we understood the pros and cons. At one point my husband and I disagreed and looked to her to provide her medical advice (or to act as the tiebreaker), and she mentioned the pros and cons but said it was entirely up to us. We did decide to do a single transfer both times, but I wish she had been a bit more insistent about the importance of doing a single transfer.
What specific things went wrong at Boston IVF?
- Failed to call with results
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Boston IVF.
For one cycle, they forgot to call me and tell me some important, time-critical test results. If I remember correctly, it was Day 2 and I needed to know if I was going in for a Day 3 or Day 5 transfer. No one called me all day. The paper instructions they gave me said to call a certain number if I hadn't heard anything by 6 PM. I called that number at 6:15, and an answering service person told me it was after hours and I would have to call back the next day. After arguing with the answering service person for a while, she finally let me talk to the on-call doctor. That doctor looked up my information and gave me the next instructions I needed for my treatment. The issue was resolved, but brought me to tears and added a lot of stress and anxiety to an already very stressful time.