How was your experience with Julio Pabon at Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida?
I am 44 years old and just delivered my second Dr. Pabon baby! Dr. Pabon is an amazing, caring physician and if I could give him eleven stars I would! I live in Orlando and it was totally worth the 2.5 hour drive to see him.
I am a single-mother-by-choice (my daughters were conceived with donor sperm) who decided when I was 40 that I was finally ready to become a mother. I looked at several different fertility offices and ultimately chose Dr. Pabon because his success rates were significantly higher than other offices and the staff who initially answered the phone were extremely kind and helpful. I am so glad that I chose Dr. Pabon, because he is one of the most skilled, compassionate doctors that I have ever worked with. He made personal calls (even on the weekends and after hours) to check on me and make sure that I had the information that I needed. He genuinely cares about his patients and their outcomes.
Because of my age, Dr. Pabon suggested that I go straight to an IVF procedure. I wanted to try getting pregnant by IUI instead, because I had no known fertility issues (aside from my advanced age) and the IUI procedure is significantly less expensive. Dr. Pabon supported my choice, but said that we should set a limit on the number of IUIs (we decided on four) and that if it didn’t work, we agreed to advance to IVF. In hindsight, I wish I took his advice from the beginning, because unfortunately the IUIs did not work and it ultimately cost me both more time and money than if I went with his recommendation from the beginning. (I would recommend going straight to IVF to anybody over 35 who is trying to conceive.)
I ended up doing two egg harvests because I knew that I wanted to have at least two children and Dr. Pabon suggested that I collect as many embryos as I needed to have the number of children that I wanted then, because with every year that would pass my eggs would become older and statistically less viable. I also decided to do genetic testing which was absolutely the right choice for me because: a) many of my embryos ended up not being viable and it would have been expensive and heartbreaking to go through several failed pregnancy attempts with non-viable embryos and b) I really wanted to have daughters and you can learn the sex of the embryos through the genetic testing. With my first harvest I collected 11 eggs and got six embryos of which only two were viable. Just in case one of my pregnancies did not take, I did a second harvest and collected eight eggs and five embryos, three of which were viable.
Before we did the implantation, Dr. Pabon strongly encouraged me to lose some weight because excessive fat can negatively impact the outcome. It wasn’t easy to hear (or do!), but I did get within five pounds of a normal BMI before my first implantation. I added fertility acupuncture to Dr. Pabon’s closely monitored drug regimen and fortunately ended up conceiving on the first try at 41! My first daughter was born 34 weeks later! (Unfortunately, I developed severe pre-eclampsia, so she had to be delivered early by C-section, but she is a happy and healthy two-year-old now, so no long-term problems!)
At 43 I decided I was ready to have my second child. Since I had the embryos already, I only had to do another implantation. Dr. Pabon is always at the cutting edge of treatments, and I was impressed by how even in the two years since I previously conceived, he added several new protocols. With the implantation of my second daughter, I had some spotting, so Dr. Pabon recommended that I get an ultrasound in Orlando (so that I wouldn’t have to drive all the way to Sarasota) to check and make sure that everything was OK. I got a phone call that evening from him saying that they could not find a heartbeat and that he was very sorry, but that my pregnancy had probably terminated (I was almost at the seven-week mark). He was very kind and compassionate, and I was, of course, devastated. I refused to believe the results though (denial is the first stage of grief, right?) and was adamant that everything was OK. Dr. Pabon thoughtfully listened to me and said that if I wanted to come to Sarasota in a couple of days, he would give me a second opinion. He strongly iterated that I needed to maintain my drug regimen in the interim. (I had been religious about taking my drugs with both pregnancies; there is quite an extensive list of shots and pills that need to be administered at various times throughout the day, so I made an Excel spreadsheet so that I wouldn’t miss any doses!)
When I arrived in Sarasota, I was the last appointment of the day and the office was very somber, clearly having been prepared to deliver me bad news. A few seconds after he started the ultrasound, he said, “I see a heartbeat!” and started to laugh. I started to cry because I was so relieved! He called my second daughter (who was born at 37 weeks, again due to pre-eclampsia) “Bonus Fry”! 😊
So, long story short, Dr. Pabon is a miracle worker who helped me conceive two beautiful, healthy daughters after I turned 40. He and his staff are wonderful, caring people who I would give my highest recommendation to.
For women over 40 trying to conceive, I have the following advice:
1. Definitely use Dr. Pabon! His success rates are higher because he carefully monitors each patient, is not afraid to give them hard advice (like lose weight), and is always at the leading edge of treatment technologies
2. Go straight to IVF, it will save you time and money in the long run
3. Do the genetic testing. It is a bit more expensive up front, but will be a lot less expensive than a second round of IVF due to implanting an inviable embryo.
4. Be extremely precise with your medications. Dr. Pabon carefully calibrates the dosage and timing for you, but you need to follow his advice to the letter! Use spreadsheets, alarms, post-its, whatever you have to, in order to take your meds on time.
5. Add fertility acupuncture. I did it with both pregnancies. With my second pregnancy Dr. Pabon even added that in as an option at his clinic.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Julio Pabon at Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida?
He knows what he is doing, so follow his advice exactly, even if it is inconvenient or not what you were initially thinking. At the same time, trust that you know your body and communicate with him if you think something is not right; he will listen to you.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Julio Pabon at Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida?
The staff were very supportive and always knew my name when I came to the office. Dr. Pabon personally called me with news even if it was on the weekend or in the evenings.
Describe the protocols Julio Pabon used in your cycles at Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida and their degree of success.
Dr. Pabon recommended that I go straight to IVF due to my age. I didn't listen to him and wasted several thousands of dollars on IUIs when I could have gone straight to IVF and conceived on the first try.
He also recommended the genetic testing, which I am glad that I did, because many of my embryos were not viable and we were then able to implant only the ones that were. I conceived two daughters with him, both on the first implantation attempt. (I was 41 the first time and 43 the second time.)
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The nurses were also extremely kind and compassionate and they always knew who I was as soon as I walked in. They gave me clear instructions and returned my calls promptly.
Describe your experience with Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida.
The clinic is the doctor and the nurses (plus support staff), so I don't have much else to add. I know that he has moved to a new location now, so I can't really comment on the new facilities. If I were to make one negative comment about the facility it would be that with my second implantation, some of the front desk ladies (who were new since my first pregnancy) were not as patient, caring, and organized as a few of them who were there with my first pregnancy (and had since left.)
Describe the costs associated with your care under Julio Pabon at Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida.
Hmm. It was awhile ago now. I believe in 2016 the process which included two egg harvests, one failed embryo transfer attempt (my lining wasn't thick enough), and one successful embryo transfer cost $50,000 with the cost of all drugs and everything. For my second child (just the embryo transfer, drugs, follow-up appointments, etc.) I believe it was $20,000.
Describe Julio Pabon's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Fertility Center & Applied Genetics of Florida.
Initially I did not think it was a good idea because IVF is so expensive and I was worried that if I only implanted one embryo I wouldn't have a viable pregnancy at the end. Dr. Pabon explained to me though that a single embryo transfer is actually better for the baby and better for the mother and usually ended up with a BETTER chance of a viable pregnancy, not a worse one. (He was right!)