Describe your experience with New York Fertility Services.
All in all I was very happy with NYFS. Dr. Batzofin is very knowledgeable, compassionate and flexible - and his staff reflect this mentality. There was some turnover during the 10 months I was there, which led me to believe that there may have been some personality issues going on in the background, but as a patient I never saw any indication of this. The front desk team was very kind and patient. The clinic also has very reasonable negotiated rates with insurance companies, which helps stretch your coverage further than at other clinics. I also thought the Lab Director John Scodras and the cryopreservation specialist Schennella were wonderful to work with, although I am a little shaky on how two of our highly graded embryos arrested during the same thawing process (but I know that this happens and is often out of the lab's control). I think that ultimately, and perhaps unfairly, clinics get judged by their results. We went through 7 embryos in order to get one successful pregnancy. But we did get a successful pregnancy, which at the end of the day is what really matters. And so I think NYFS certainly has its strengths and weaknesses, like all clinics, but if you're looking for highly personalized care at a more reasonable cost, then it's absolutely a great option.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Because NYFS is a small boutique clinic, Dr. Batzofin really takes the time to know his patients. I very much felt like we were on a team and he wanted me to get pregnant almost as badly as I did. The front desk team and the nursing staff were also incredibly warm, friendly and compassionate. I can't say enough nice things about the people that work at NYFS.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
I really enjoyed the nursing staff at NYFS. They were incredibly personal, understanding and sweet. I was sad to say goodbye to them when I graduated from the clinic. Suzette was a treasure - by far the best nurse I've ever had anywhere at drawing blood with no pain!! Sanella was also very sweet and competent. There was another nurse whom I liked very much, Jocelyn, but she left abruptly and I was never sure why.
How was your experience with Joel Batzofin?
Dr. Batzofin was kind, compassionate and flexible in his approach to our infertility. From what I could research, he followed all the proper protocols and was always willing to change course when we were unsuccessful. I greatly appreciated his willingness to listen to my preferences and incorporate changes to our next steps. I did feel he was too quick to suggest surrogacy in our case (after only one or two failed transfers). I am currently pregnant after the 4th embryo transfer, and so ultimately we have the result we wanted. I am not sure whether I would have gotten pregnant quicker with a different clinic, but I highly doubt I would have received the same level of service and attention.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Joel Batzofin?
I think I was very naive at the beginning of our infertility treatments and thought that IVF would work the very first time. I would suggest that a patient take the time to educate themselves on the process and likelihood of success. I would also suggest that new patients be very vocal in their preferences. Dr. Batzofin's success rates are not as high as other clinics in NYC, but he is also willing to take on patients that other clinics would turn away.
Describe the protocols Joel Batzofin used in your cycles and their degree of success.
For my IVF egg retrieval, we used the Lupron Long Down-Regulation Protocol, which I believe is the more traditional approach. (In general, Dr. Batzofin tends to favor more traditional approaches, but is open to trying new methods if the patient wishes.) I produced 15 eggs, 13 of which fertilized, 9 reached the cleavage stage, and 8 reached the blastocyst stage. We transferred one fresh embryo and froze the rest. Three months later I had an unsuccessful medicated FET using lupron, estrogen and progesterone suppositories. Two months after that we tried immunosuppressive therapy (blood thinners, steroids and intralipids) and had another unsuccessful medicated FET (lupron, estrogen and progesterone injections). Finally, two months later I requested an endometrial scratch and a natural FET (no lupron, monitoring natural ovulation and then supporting with low-dose estrogen and progesterone suppositories) and we transferred two embryos. This resulted in a successful singleton pregnancy. Two of our embryos did not survive the thawing process during our last transfer, which has given me some concerns over the quality of the lab. We now only have one frozen blastocyst remaining from the original 8.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Joel Batzofin.
We were very fortunate to have Oxford Freedom insurance, which covered a $10,000 lifetime max plus fertility meds. Because NYFS has reasonable negotiated rates with Oxford, our one egg retrieval, one fresh embryo transfer, and 3 frozen embryo transfers were covered under the LTM, as were the medications. There were a number of extra associated costs, such as cryopreservation and storage, co-payments and fees, but those probably totaled around $4,000-$5,000 total. Unfortunately, we have hit our LTM, so everything from here on out will be out of pocket. NYFS's self-pay rates appear to be similar to most other NY clinics (i.e., very expensive).