How was your experience with Kathleen Hong at RMA of New Jersey?
Dr. Hong is very approachable and easy to talk with. She was very helpful in explaining everything and taking the time to answer our questions until we were satisfied. She comes across to me as very research/fact based and practical, which is why I think we immediately liked working with her. She has a lot of energy, but is also caring and sensitive. I appreciate the ability to be able to speak with her directly on the phone even in between appointments. Our treatment plan changed a few times and she proactively called me to explain the rationale behind each decision. She performed almost all of my monitoring visits and also performed my embryo transfer. I always felt in good hands, both clinically and compassion-wise.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Kathleen Hong at RMA of New Jersey?
Ask as many questions as you have until you are comfortable and fully understand your course of treatment. You will be well taken care of.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Kathleen Hong at RMA of New Jersey?
Dr. Hong has a really nice approach and 'bedside manner' - each interaction that we've had has been a reassuring experience. She's very detailed and takes time to explain everything and answer questions. She's highly approachable, kind, and responsive, even in between appointments. She called me directly when it was needed to explain any major change in my treatment plan.
Describe the protocols Kathleen Hong used in your cycles at RMA of New Jersey and their degree of success.
When we first consulted with Dr. Hong, she reviewed several treatment strategies with us. We already had frozen embryos in storage from our first IVF cycle, but they were still at Boston IVF. We wanted to try for another child using only these frozen embryos (we were not interested in pursuing any further IVF cycles). She explained several available options, and ultimately we decided that we would ship our embryos to RMA NJ (the most expensive shipping of my life!!). We would then do an embryo thaw to perform CCS, in order to rule out any unviable embryos. Next the viable remaining embryos would be frozen again in preparation for FET. We also discussed option for knowing the sex. I would undergo a natural (unmedicated) cycle. I didn't even know that natural cycles were an option with FET! I was very happy about this. Although it required more monitoring leading up the time of ovulation (many 6am appointments!!), the bonus was that I didn't have to take any medications aside from the trigger shot and then progesterone (vaginal suppository). Only one injection! It was so much easier than my previous fresh IVF cycle. Right before our embryos shipped, Dr. Hong called me in a panic because she had just been discussing our case with the embryologist who realized in my medical records that our former IVF cycle was the result of conventional IVF, not ICSI. You cannot do CCS with conventional IVF embryos! We were initially very disappointed to hear this, but rebounded quickly and decided to pursue the FET cycle without any genetic testing, just letting nature take its course so to speak. Ultimately we got very lucky. The first natural cycle FET led to pregnancy, and our baby girl was born at 41 weeks on 11/30/2018.
Describe your experience with your nurse at RMA of New Jersey. (Assigned nurse: Dayna Browning)
I only had one in person interaction with Dayna, the rest were all phone calls, but each one has been very positive. She is highly energetic, optimistic, and empathetic. She is very responsive and takes the time to explain each step and answer my questions. She has exceeded my expectations for nursing support at a clinic as huge as RMA NJ.
Describe your experience with RMA of New Jersey.
Strengths - Essentially it's a one stop shop for almost anything you need as part of your fertility treatment. I even had an outpatient surgery (hysteroscopy and polyp removal) under RMA and the care I experienced was excellent. I was very impressed with the high level of coordination between departments and the communication and responsiveness - everything from medical and nursing consultations to finance to embryology. It was a seamless experience for me as the patient, which is not always easy to come by!
Weaknesses - I always had to drive to Basking Ridge for blood work/monitoring on the weekends. Also when having ultrasound monitoring in Basking Ridge on the weekends, I never knew which doctor I would be seeing and that experience was a bit too cold and 'assembly line' for me...I appreciate that they have a long line of patients to monitor each morning, but the doctors need to also appreciate that fertility patients aren't just a number. We need a little extra TLC at each interaction, after all we are having a probe stuck up our vagina (!!) and worried about every step of the way in trying have a baby. One doctor in particular - Ashley Tiegs (I believe she was a Fellow) - was very cold, literally in and out, blurting out some information, never even made eye contact with me. That was the one and only truly negative experience that I ever had at RMA.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Kathleen Hong at RMA of New Jersey.
We received financial counseling from the first consultation. The ballpark cost that we were originally expecting for thawing/refreezing/CCS testing of embryos (none of which would be covered by insurance) would be approx. $6550. In addition, we would be paying for the courier to move our embryos from Boston to NJ = approximately $800.
The FET cycle itself was expected to cost $4,475 + upwards of $1600 for medication. My insurance would offset some of this cost.
Describe Kathleen Hong's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at RMA of New Jersey.
Dr. Hong was very clear from the beginning that we would do a single embryo transfer. I didn't challenge it.
What specific things went wrong at RMA of New Jersey?
- Lost paperwork
- Provided conflicting information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at RMA of New Jersey.
The only odd experience I had was (unfortunately) right at my first interaction, when I was seeking a new patient appointment. The coordinator that I spoke to on the phone walked me through a basic intake assessment. I explained that I already had embryos frozen from our first IVF cycle, and that these were stored in Boston. We were interested in moving the embryos and seeking consultation for FET here in NJ. The coordinator asked whether or not our IVF cycle had involved ICSI - and said something like if we had NOT performed ICSI, that we might not even be eligible at RMA to do FET. I asked her to elaborate, provide more explanation so that I could understand better. She then sort of skirted around it and said that we should just have the med records and embryology reports from Boston sent over so the doctor could review. That comment however nagged at me, and so I pressed for more information during our interim email exchanges (leading up to my first consultation with a RE). It was important for me to understand more about the ICSI relationship to FET, as I didn't want to waste my time seeing the RE if we couldn't use our already frozen embryos in storage. She never would answer me directly. In the end, I still don't know what that was all about nor how it would have been relevant. In my opinion, she should never have said anything at all along those lines, especially if she wasn't prepared to provide relevant, factual information!