How was your experience with Suleena Kalra at Penn Fertility Care?
I often felt like I was bothering her when I asked questions. It's clear she was busy but also I was a patient of hers for a long time and it really never felt like we made a connection. It always felt rushed and like she was talking to a child. I work in women's health and reproductive health research, I understand a lot more because of my line of work and it still felt like she dodged some questions when I asked about more scientific or specific things.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Suleena Kalra at Penn Fertility Care?
You might want to wok with Dr. Kalra is you really don't want anything sugar-coated. We found her bedside manner to be cold and not sympathetic for two people who are trying to keep hope alive after a lot of failure and much heartache. Ultimately, this is why I asked to be reassigned to another doctor within the practice.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Suleena Kalra at Penn Fertility Care?
Dr. Kalra was thorough but we never felt she was warm or like she really had time for us. If I had a question that required speaking to her, I often felt like I was bothering her. She also sprung the need for ICSI on us on the morning of my retrieval (while I was gowned up and waiting for my IV placement) and it didn't really feel like she took the time to explain why she changed her mind.
Describe the protocols Suleena Kalra used in your cycles at Penn Fertility Care and their degree of success.
I did 6 medicated (clomid/letrozole) rounds and IUI before we were approved for IVF. All were negative. I went throw two egg retrieval rounds with her. We were lucky enough to have insurance coverage so we asked that she be as aggressive as possible because we didn't want to waste the coverage. She said she "was" but then after our first retrieval all embryos arrested after 5 days. The next time around she changed the medication, added in a course of HGH and we ended up with 6 embryos after 6 days of development. I did one fresh transfer which was negative and then one additional frozen transfer with her which resulted in a chemical pregnancy. After that point my husband and I both felt we didn't want to work with her anymore and asked to switch to a different, warmer doctor within the clinic.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Penn Fertility Care. (Assigned nurse: Dawn)
I worked primarily with Dawn during the course of my treatment. Up until the end she was very helpful. Every time there was a negative result, she was right there working with me to schedule a follow up, and keep on the horse for next time. The main issue is take is that after my last transfer (which did result in positive rising HCG levels) but ultimately ended in miscarriage after the 6-week ultrasound, Dawn knew we didn't have any embryos left and also knew we weren't in a position to continue with more treatment at that time (after 6 IUIs, 2 retrievals and 6 transfers). The day we found out at the ultrasound that it wasn't viable I emailed later saying we were going to wait and see if the miscarriage would happen naturally but also asked her to check on the insurance coverage for the anesthesia for a D&C. She did not answer my email. 2 weeks later I finally followed to up to say that it had happened and i was fine. She responded that my message must have been lost by the surgical team and that was it. No sympathy, no apology for not responding and certainly no push to come back in for another follow up. That really made me feel like a major dollar sign (or lack there of) with Penn Fertility Care and one of the main reasons I would never recommend them to anyone looking for care in Philly.
Describe your experience with Penn Fertility Care.
The positives of Penn is that if you work there, the insurance coverage is fantastic. We received 6 covered IUIs, 2 retrievals and three transfers all through my insurance plan. They also have several locations and you can go to any one you want depending on whats most convenient for you. Most of the time, for the early morning blood draw/ultrasound visits leading up to IUI or retrieval, they are mostly on time.
On the other side of the coin, the process for getting "bad news" isn't great. Usually the ultrasound tech just says everything is fine but if it's not then they literally don't say anything and on the way out say "the doctor will come in and speak to you." It just was very anxiety provoking. Maybe this is true of all clinics, I don't know, but I really didn't like how it was handled. Additionally, the weekend appointments sometimes ran 90 minutes behind for a simple blood draw and/or ultrasound. I also very much felt like a dollar sign. The financial person was entirely unprofessional and had no empathy at all for us. Even though we had mailed a check which had not yet been received she basically threatened to cancel our embryo transfer if we didn't pay the bill for our embryo storage. We had literally received the bill earlier that week and mailing a check was the only option for payment. It wasn't an issue with being able to pay or not wanting to pay - they just literally hadn't received it yet. I never really felt connected to my care team or like anyone really cared about us (for the most part) and I was under their care for almost 3 years.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Suleena Kalra at Penn Fertility Care.
I was very lucky in that we had 6 IUIs, 2 retrievals and 2 transfers covered by our insurance. We had to pay for ICSI out of pocket as well as for embryo preservation. Those costs were reasonable but also weren't totally disclosed to us up front. We didn't realize that certain things were covered by insurance and others were not. ICSI was decided on the day of our retrieval so we were hit with a bill later which we were not expecting. It was okay for us but I could imagine for many couples it would not be.
Describe Suleena Kalra's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Penn Fertility Care.
She was very set on eSET but this was also preferred by my insurance so we did follow through with two single transfers with her.
What specific things went wrong at Penn Fertility Care?
- Lost paperwork
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to send your chart to another clinic
- Failed to inform you of changes in protocol
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Penn Fertility Care.
For my second egg retrieval round my doctor added in a 5-day course of HGH. I was supposed to start it around 8 days prior to egg retrieval. That morning the nurse called with my blood work results and told me to "stay the course" with my meds. I asked, "okay, so don't change anything?" and she said "nope, don't change anything." When I went back two days later for follow up the nurse called with the results and asked how I was tolerating the HGH and I said I hadn't started it, that I wasn't told to start it. It became a big deal as to whether or not they would cancel the cycle and ultimately my doctor decided to allow the cycle to continue with a delayed start to the HGH.
Additionally, when I went for our first retrieval the cover sheet they had for my treatment was actually for a different person and after the third discrepancy between what the nurse said and what my husband and I questioned as not what we had been told she went to speak to our doctor and realized it has been filled out with someone else in mind. That didn't make us feel confident at all.