How was your experience with Dan Goldschlag at Weill Cornell Medical College?
Dr. Goldschlag is very patient, always asks me how I am doing, how I am feeling - he knows after our three year journey how my emotions can get the best of me and he always asks how things are at home. He talks to me in a way that I understand what is going on, but also that shows he respects my intelligence as a health care professional.
Dr. Goldschlag also has a way of lightening the mood without coming off as uncaring or harsh. He jokes with me about my reliance on Dr. Google, and he always is up to date on all the studies and new tests I bring up and what is good about the studies or what was lacking in them and why he does or does not buy into the findings. I like that he is constantly researching and learning and not just doing the same thing over and over. No two of my protocols have ever been the same (until this current cycle bc the last cycle we did I got pregnant with my daughter and we are hoping to recreate that!!), he is always taking my latest hormone levels into account and tweaking everything so I react to the meds the best way possible.
Also, he always gives my husband and I a few minutes after a monitoring appointment in the room to ask questions and talk about what is going on in order to make sure that we are comfortable with everything. It can be very hard to reach anyone in the office, and almost impossible to reach him on the phone, so I like that he gives us that time.
Another thing he has started doing (I am not sure if this is for everyone, but my IVF cycles were not like this), is scheduling monitoring appointments with him specifically, so I am on his schedule and know when I am going to be seeing him so that I do not have to wait as long, and there is a continuity of care, as opposed to seeing which ever MD is on call that day for ultrasounds, and then it taking several days before I see him again and can get my questions answered.
Dr. Goldschlag is also EXCELLENT when the cycle fails. We have had multiple cycles fail - very, very difficulty failures - and the way he handled it, my emotions, my husband's emotions, he was very straight forward and honest with us about our bleak situation and what the next steps were. I appreciated the honesty and when he was not being straightforward with me at one point I called him out on it and from then on he gave it to me like it was. I feel for myself and my husband, it is better for us to know the truth from the outset than for us to be under the assumption that we are going to have this amazing experience.
Overall he was very willing to work with us and ultimately he was able to help us get to our goal and give us our beautiful daughter.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Dan Goldschlag at Weill Cornell Medical College?
Give him a chance to get to know you before you assume he is too quiet or hands off. Once I got to know him a little better and we were all able to relax around each other, it got much easier.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Dan Goldschlag at Weill Cornell Medical College?
Dr. Goldschalg and I get along very well. He has a very calming presence and helps bring me down off my crazy (sometimes hormone induced) tantrums about why it is not fair that I was not getting pregnant. He was very patient with me, always answered all my questions, talked to me about all the options and why something would be a good/bad/or ok idea for treatment. He always said that he would be willing to do anything I wanted, but he wanted me to listen to his opinion on the matter before making decisions. He knows that I am a healthcare professional and brings it up regularly, in explanation for decisions and for why he is explaining things to me in a scientific way. He talks to me in a way that I feel I understand what we are talking about, but that he respects my intelligence and research on our diagnosis.
When we had a cycle fail with no viable embryos, Dr. Goldschlag called me several days in a row, sometimes multiple times a day to update me on the situation and make sure I was ok. We spent over an hour talking about the results and what we were going to proceed with and he did not hang up the phone until he knew I was ok, and we had scheduled an appointment to meet and go over everything, despite it being a holiday weekend.
I know a lot of people who have cycled with Dr. Goldschlag sometimes are not pleased with their experience because they feel like a number, but I think that is more due to the size of the clinic. Cornell has hundreds of patients cycling through on a regular basis and if you do not stand up for yourself and advocate for your care, you may get lost, but if you are able to do that, you will get excellent care at a top rated clinic.
Describe the protocols Dan Goldschlag used in your cycles at Weill Cornell Medical College and their degree of success.
As an Orthodox Jew, Cornell has a specific protocol they use to help push off the egg retrieval until a little farther on in the cycle (called the Mikva Protocol), to help shorten the period and keep any spotting at bay.
Started with estrogen patches for a few days, then added a Ganirelix shot for three days, then started Menopure and GonalF, then added the Ganirelix back in, then triggered with HCG. My dosages were incredibly low bc of my VERY high AMH levels. First cycle was extended (I dont think the dosages were high enough and I was injecting them incorrectly so I wasnt getting the full dose).
Second cycle was the same overall, but higher dosages and I had better quality eggs (more mature) than the first cycle. (Cycle failed due to Male factor component)
First IUI with clomid - did not respond well to Clomid, poor follicle and lining
Second IUI with Letrazol - started with 5mg a day for 5 days, three days off, then bumped up to 7.5 mg a day for 5 days. Went in and had 2 beautiful 24mm follicles (one on each ovary) and lining was almost 9mm. Triggered with 10kHCG and IUI the following day.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Weill Cornell Medical College. (Assigned nurse: Jamie, Allison, Cheryl, Tamara)
Jamie - Only had her the first cycle. She called me the first day and the last to let me know it failed but other than that I always talked with Allison. She gave me the wrong info which had to get changed and was thankfully caught before I gave myself the wrong meds. Was weird hearing from her that my cycle failed when I literally had nothing to do with her. She was no longer with Dr. Goldschlag when I came back six months later for my next cycle.
Allison - Was there from my first cycle (she caught Jamie's mess up) all the way until my successful pregnancy. She often seemed overwhelmed, probably because of Dr. Goldschlag's caseload and how many phone calls she had to make. She always returned phone calls, and gave clear instructions. She was also a lot more down to earth than some of the other nurses I came across there, which was nice. She also was SOO happy when she got to call me with my positive pregnancy test after our fourth cycle, we were both crying on the phone together, because she had been with me through it from the beginning.
Cheryl and Tamara - Dr. Goldschlag's nursing team this time is a little more haphazard, but they call me back and they seem to have things together. I dont have a real feel for them yet because I just returned to the clinic in the past month, but so far nothing bad to say.
Describe your experience with Weill Cornell Medical College.
The clinic is HUGE. If you are not ready for that, either find someplace new, or prepare yourself to advocate. If you are in their face and vocal you will have a better experience because they will know who you are.
That being said this clinic also specializes in taking cases that no one else will touch. They are not as concerned with their success rates and only taking patients who will improve their rates, rather they are willing to give almost anyone a shot and they will adapt their protocols to meet patient's needs.
One thing I like is that they have team meetings and come up with protocols as a team, not individual doctors making decisions on their own. This is comforting because you know that they are checking each others work.
Something else that could be a little discomforting for patients is that because there are so many patients and the clinic is part of the hospital, not everything takes place in the clinic. Somethings take place in the radiology dept and then the lab, egg retrievals, and transfers happen in a surgical center in the hospital (I liked this because it was just IVF procedures happening there so no one else was walking in and out and you knew the nurses and front desk people did this all day every day). Also, the Andrology lab is on a different floor so you have to take the elevator and walk around with the sperm sample in a paper bag from when they give it to you to when you give it back to the nurse and have the IUI done (a little weird for people who know what is in the tube and see you walking around with it).
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Weill Cornell Medical College.
What I do now is schedule an actual appointment, show up then and get seen within 15 minutes of that appointment.
At the same time and what I used to do was show up anywhere from 6:30 to 9 am and sign in and wait in the waiting room to first get called for bloodwork and then ultrasound. The MD you see for the scan can be any of the doctors in the practice. Their system is automated, so there is a computer system that tells the tech who the next patient they are taking for blood or ultrasound is and what room to put them in. This keeps things moving assuming patients are not missing in the bathroom or grabbing coffee outside at the cart on the sidewalk. Sometimes there can be close to 100 patients waiting to be seen though, which can make the wait take several hours.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Dan Goldschlag at Weill Cornell Medical College.
My IVF was covered by insurance but the cost at the time was approximately $12000 for IVF with ICSI (we also did Micro-TESE in conjunction which was $15k out of pocket)
My IUI is also under insurance so I am not aware of the costs.
What specific things went wrong at Weill Cornell Medical College?