How was your experience with Laurence A. Jacobs?
Dr. Jacobs is a warm and friendly for a doctor. He jokes while providing specific information. I research a lot of things and he tends to answer my questions before I have a chance to ask. When I miscarried, he adjusted his schedule to have an emergency conversation and follow-up as it was unexpected. We are sticking with him for our second year (and 4th egg retrieval) as I expect better results this round vs another clinic.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Laurence A. Jacobs?
Dr. Jacobs will advocate for you if there is an issue with insurance denials or if you cannot reach your nurse. I would not go to him directly unless it's a protocol question that was missed in your meetings with him. His assigned nurse should be the first point of contact. We had go through PGD and PGS testing after he suggested we both have carrier testing done prior to our first IUI. This would be information "just to have in our back pocket." Well, turns out we both carried the same genetic mutation, which resulted in us by-passing IUI and jumping straight into IVF to do everything in our power to avoid having a baby with our mutation. He potentially saved us a lifetime of hospital visits or an extremely early funeral for our baby.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
With Dr. Jacbos himself, and his nurse, Cindy, I was treated like a human. I was responded to quickly and my protocol was specific to our situation. I was able to have back and forth dialogue and conversations that were positive and hopeful.
Describe the protocols Laurence A. Jacobs used in your cycles and their degree of success.
After my initial baseline, the results yielded less than optimal amh, fsh, and ovarian reserve levels. I was bumped to the highest follicle stimulating hormone regime, with the antagonist protocol.
My resting follicle count was 8. I stimmed for just over a week and produced 6 eggs at retrieval. Of those 6, none made it to blastocyst.
The second round, he added Letrozole to the mix and by that point I had been taking myo-inositol and coq10 for a couple months (at Dr. Jacobs suggestion).
We did the same antagonist protocol, this time yielding 7 eggs retrieved. One made it to Day-5 Blastocyst and was biopsied and frozen for PGD/PGS testing.
Discouraged, we met with him to discuss our blast numbers.
He told me he would try a less-common protocol, called micro-dose lupron, but warned me I may see poorer results, and if my hormone levels got out of whack too quickly or my response was even lower, he would cancel before retrieval so my insurance wouldn't recognize a 3rd retrieval. We would then have to resort back to the antagonist.
My third retrieval with the MDL protocol yielded 16 eggs at retrieval, and 4 made it to Day-5 Blastocyst and were biopsied.
Of the total 5 biopsied embryos, 2 were genetically normal with PGD/PGS. We did two transfers. The first one did not take, negative beta.
I had an endo scratch prior to my second transfer.
The second transfer resulted in a positive pregnancy. Unfortunately, that pregnancy ended when I miscarried at 10w3d.
At this point, I am cycling again with the MDL protocol in the hopes that trying again will yield a take-home baby as it is clear I can get pregnant.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Cindy is amazing. Hands down the best communicator. I probably emailed her a dozen times a week and never got a response any later than a couple hours. She will not, however, answer the phone. Email is best. And I am more comfortable putting everything in writing so I can look back as needed. I have actually never met her face to face but I don't care. She is fabulous.
Describe your experience with Fertility Centers of Illinois.
Overall, the clinic is efficient, organized, and friendly. I visited the Buffalo Grove location for my weekly monitoring. The phlebotomist and ultrasound tech are super nice and explain things as you need if you speak up about concerns or questions. The receptionists at the location are hit or miss. Some seem like they would rather be working elsewhere, some are obviously new and uninformed, and some are magical.
However, there are some very specific issues.
The aParent IVF financial coordinator, Cindy Tracy, is an absolute nightmare to work with. If you are required to do PGD testing, your default lab is with Reprogenetics. They contract directly with Global Genetics (the genetics team within aParent) so Global Genetics hikes up their rates to make a substantial profit. My first year with them, I just said yes and opened my check book.
The second year, after reluctantly returning post-miscarriage, I wanted to speak with Cindy directly to see if there was any wiggle room in pricing since I was a return patient, second year veteran, etc. Email after email, phone call after phone call...nothing was ever returned. She only responded if I copied Dr. Jacobs...which was my last resort.
Dr. Jacobs started contracting with a second lab, and it put Cindy's team in a bind since they couldn't price gouge anymore. The second lab bills the patient directly so there are no hidden fees. Without haggling anything I am saving four weeks of set-up time and $3,000.
aParent IVF, Global Genetics, and CryoVault do not contract with insurances and are not recognized with NPI numbers. You will not be reimbursed for anything, even if your specific situation is medically necessary. An explanation regarding this type of information would have been extremely necessary when trying to budget for the year.
One more suggestion to the financial team at aParent. FCI is willing to bill the biopsy portion for their patients, and should advocate to do so. This fee is $2,000 each retrieval and IS covered with insurance if the clinic makes the request. It is so much harder getting a claim reimbursed, if at all, when the patient pays out of pocket. Why do we have insurance if the clinic won't help?
Describe the costs associated with your care under Laurence A. Jacobs.
I bought my own individual insurance through BCBSIL. Illinois has infertility coverage mandates. My yearly premium is $4,560. My deductible and max out of pocket is $6,500. Medications not covered with insurance is $150. PGD/PGS testing is $4,985. Freezing is $1,200 for the first round, $800 for the second. In 2016 I paid $14,800 for three retrievals, two transfers, and genetic testing (not including insurance monthly premiums). In 2017 I plan to pay $12,835 for one round, and another couple thousand for additional rounds.