How was your experience with Jerome Check at Cooper Institute for Advanced Reproductive Medicine?
Dr. Check is very research & data driven, which I appreciate. He was recommended to me by a family member who described him as "unconventional" which I agree with. He looks for treatment options that are outside of the box and does not push people into the most expensive treatment options right away, which I appreciate. After your initial consult & course of treatment are set, you will deal mostly with nurses (this was my experience as a non-IVF patient). If you want Dr. Check directly involved, you will need to request phone calls or appointments for that. When we were going to make a change in my treatment plan, I did request a call with Dr. Check to make sure I understood the path forward and he called me that week before we went ahead with the next cycle.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Jerome Check at Cooper Institute for Advanced Reproductive Medicine?
Dr. Check is straightforward, and not necessarily "warm & fuzzy." Infertility is a tough journey and some may expect/desire more support from their care providers. If you don't have a strong support system outside of the office, you probably will not find it there. However, after several months with the staff, I was able to build a rapport with them and they are especially kind to me this time around, as a recurring patient with a 2 year old daughter thanks to them. You will also need to be prepared to explore some unconventional approaches to fertility treatment. But, I found it refreshing that he was driven by the curiosity of different cases and finding an approach that worked best for each patient rather than referring everyone right away for expensive IVF treatments.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Jerome Check at Cooper Institute for Advanced Reproductive Medicine?
Dr. Check was willing to treat me when other doctor's felt that I was too young and should just "keep trying." He respected my gut instinct that my miscarriages were not coincidence and through testing found many issues contributing to them. For my first appointment, he was extremely flexible and I was able to do my consult and new patient testing on an evening to accommodate my work schedule. I have a background in Science and really appreciated how into detail he went about the mechanisms of the different treatment options and that he supplied me with his medical papers on the topics.
Describe the protocols Jerome Check used in your cycles at Cooper Institute for Advanced Reproductive Medicine and their degree of success.
First off, you get a full battery of tests. Bloods, ultrasounds, testing for your partner, etc. Once it was determined that my partner wasn't contributing to my infertility and that my anatomy was normal, we decided on a treatment plan. He also put me on adderall right away, which he had papers on to show a correlation with increased success in fertility treatments. He also found that I had low thyroid and started me on synthroid.
Dr. Check's first approach was to have me try to get pregnant with timed intercourse and just support my luteal phase with progesterone, where he first suspected my miscarriages stemmed from. I had a lot of success naturally getting pregnant, just not staying pregnant. However, during my first cycle being monitored, it was discovered that I was ovulating prematurely and my follicles were small and immature when released, so we did not attempt pregnancy in that cycle.
For the next cycle, I used FSH to stimulate follicle growth, Cetrotide to suppress my LH, hCG to trigger ovulation, timed intercourse with my husband, lupron to promote implantation, and several forms of progesterone (oral & 2 types of suppositories) support in my luteal phase.
I was unsuccessful in that cycle and the next, and after the third cycle I had an endometrial scratch procedure after my negative pregnancy test.
The next cycle, my treatment plan was the same and I successfully became pregnant. After my positive pregnancy test, my blood & ultrasound were heavily monitored by the nurses. I was kept on progesterone until close to 20 weeks, was also taking estradiol to support my estrogen levels, and was kept on pelvic protection until 20 weeks due to some unexplained bleeding early in pregnancy. I also continued my adderall through the first trimester. As someone who experienced pregnancy loss, I appreciated the heavy monitoring throughout my early pregnancy.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Cooper Institute for Advanced Reproductive Medicine.
The nursing staff at Dr. Check's office are the staff you communicate with most. They were knowledgeable and thorough. I had one primary nurse and a few that would fill in when she wasn't there. They can sometimes seem rushed when they call you with results/instructions, but if you ask them to slow down/repeat they are great.
Describe your experience with Cooper Institute for Advanced Reproductive Medicine.
Cooper Institute is much lower cost than other options in the area. They also look for other approaches rather than just IVF. I was definitely in the minority being a non-IVF patient there, but some doctors would have sent me right to that option.
Something that was inconvenient for me was that the office in PA, which is closer to my house, was only open during limited hours for blood & ultrasounds and then 2 days/week for full days. I had to go to the NJ office a few times per cycle depending on when my cycle days fell and that was inconvenient. However, it was a small price to pay to get to the end result. Just something for new patients to be aware of.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Jerome Check at Cooper Institute for Advanced Reproductive Medicine.
My procedures & medications were well covered by my insurance company with the exception of the lupron which was only 1 dose/cycle. Each occasion of blood & ultrasound was ~$35 out of pocket, and medications were ~$150 per cycle overall. One time when I needed to get a cetrotide dose the same day to prevent ovulating & losing the cycle, they had one on site that they gave to me free of charge since my insurance mandated a mail-in pharmacy use.