How was your experience with Carolyn Alexander at Southern California Reproductive Center?
We started doing IVF for male factor (1 % morphology) after I had two chemical pregnancies. Dr. Alexander was extremely compassionate and thorough with testing before we started a cycle. She was confident I would get pregnant as everything on my side looked amazing. Our egg retrieval went great, with 4 PGS normal embryos. Our first transfer was delayed because she found polyps and I was scheduled for a hysteroscopy to remove them. While under she found a uterine septum and removed that as well. Then I tested slightly positive for irregular uterine cells and did a course of antibiotics. We finally started our transfer cycle only to be cancelled because my lining wasn't responding to the meds properly. We started again with a different type of estrogen priming and went ahead with our first transfer which resulted in a pregnancy. Dr. Alexander was more excited than me, as I was cautiously optimistic because I knew one beta test is not the whole picture. Our second beta came back lower than they would have liked and we did a third one which was normal. After this we waited to do an ultrasound at which point things did not look good. I was told this news during the ultrasound which was very upsetting. We had to go back several times to keep watching and I eventually started to miscarry and took drugs to help it along. Transfer 2 failed, which was shocking to everyone. We met with Dr. Alexander and she suggested an ERA and seeing a hematologist, which didn't make total sense to me. I said, why don't we do one more transfer before we do all that and she suggested another hysteroscopy before a transfer and the plan was to do a third transfer before she left for the holidays. We did the hysteroscopy where she removed a small piece of tissue but everything else looked great. We then found out that we wouldn't have time to do the transfer we talked about doing so I suggested doing the ERA while we were waiting for her to get back. We started a mock cycle on their "standard protocol" which did not work at all for me on any level. It was the same hormone protocol as the first cancelled transfer... I expressed concerns about this not working and was told it would be fine. When my lining didn't respond and this cycle was cancelled, I felt like Dr. Alexander started to lose confidence. She said the ERA was no longer necessary as she "didn't want to be chasing her tail around trying to get a good lining." It was disconcerting being told we needed a test and then a week later we didn't. She suggested trying a natural cycle which I started and when she discovered fluid in my uterus (which I believe was there from the cancelled cycle before) we were brought into her office and mid-cycle suggested surrogacy in a very odd way. Asking if I knew anyone who I would want to be my surrogate and saying she wished she could be mine. My husband and I were no where near ready for that conversation and it was very strange to have it brought up in the middle of an FET cycle. The fluid was aspirated, I had a second HSG with her associate (who called me a conundrum during that procedure) and she recommended going ahead with the third transfer. That one failed and we decided to get a second opinion at that point.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Carolyn Alexander at Southern California Reproductive Center?
Be ready to be in the driver's seat of your fertility journey whether it's following up for results, getting medications called in and doing your research. Dr. Alexander is smart but there were things that were missed along the way and I wish we were given a more realistic idea of what to expect with the entire process.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Carolyn Alexander at Southern California Reproductive Center?
Dr. Alexander was compassionate and caring to a fault. This was just what we needed in the beginning but as things went wrong this actually made the process more difficult because she had strong feelings which were sometimes hard to deal with. The nurses were compassionate when I saw them and always knew my name and had a positive and caring attitude no matter what was happening.
Describe the protocols Carolyn Alexander used in your cycles at Southern California Reproductive Center and their degree of success.
Egg retrieval was pretty typical. FET changed from estrogen pills to many patches and Viagra, lovenox, steroids and lots of natural supplements and PIO and endometrin when it was time. Final FET was natural (waiting for me to ovulate) with a little patch support and endometrin/PIO shots, lovenox and steroids.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The nurses were great in person. All of them were warm and knowledgable. They were sometimes hard to get a hold of and I would have to follow up on medications because occasionally something slipped between the cracks.
Describe your experience with Southern California Reproductive Center.
It's like a factory. The waiting room is bustling sometimes beyond what's tolerable. There are t.v.s to watch in the waiting room. It's almost impossible to get anyone to answer the phone or call you back. The financial department is not helpful and was absent the entire time (there were mistakes.) . The lab techs are very nice and on it.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Carolyn Alexander at Southern California Reproductive Center.
I think a retrieval cycle was listed as a little over $20k but once you add tests and meds its more like $30k. We spent close to $7k for everything for each transfer.
Describe Carolyn Alexander's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Southern California Reproductive Center.
She went back and forth about whether or not to transfer one or two but ultimately agreed with our decision to transfer one at a time... she felt strongly about me not carrying twins for health reasons.
What specific things went wrong at Southern California Reproductive Center?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to convey critical information
- Failed to consider drug intolerance