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i have been working with dr. chetkowsky for about 4 months
now and am starting to consider switching to dr. hinckley
because i think i'd be more comfortable with someone with a
better bedside manner. the main thing holding me back is the
longer commute (i live in albany and i have a 3 yr. old). do
any of you have had any experience with either one of them
and could say--''it's definitely worth the commute, or not''.
any advice would be appreciated, i'm feeling pretty down
about the whole process at this point. i'm 38 and we've been
trying for 2 years on our own. with dr. c we've done 3
rounds of clomid/iui so far and i'm seriously thinking of
switching to ivf sooner rather than later just cause each
month when i find out i'm not pregnant i'm more and more
devastated, not sure how many more of those i can take.
oh, and i'll add just in case any of you have any experience
with this--another challenge for me is that my 3 year old is
a real handful, and so i sometimes question if i really even
want a second or not, mostly i wonder if i could handle
it...but then i really want him to have a sibling so i just
feel deeply conflicted about the whole thing. if anyone else
has been in this situation i'd love to hear about what
helped, if anything
thanks so much
Hello!! I was a patient at the
Reproductive Science Center of the East
Bay. Dr. Willman was my doctor and we conceived a beautiful little girl
through IVF this past January. Although Dr. Hinckley wasn't my primary
doctor, she did perform 2 of our IUIs prior to IVF and we found her to
be very warm with a great sense of humor and we really liked her. I
don't know your current doctor. We were happy with our experience at
our fertility center and are planning for a 2nd IVF using frozen embroys
this winter. Good luck to you!!
I started working with Dr. Chet when I turned 40. I had
previously done a series of clomid/IUI cycles due to the low
cost, but did not have much luck with that route and felt
like the clomid wreaked havoc with my system. Looking back
now, I wouldn't have spent so much time with that protocol,
considering my age. I wish I had recognized sooner that it
wasn't working for me and moved on to something else.
I did get pregnant via stimulated IUI with injectables, but
unfortunately had a few early losses. Dr. Chet cared for me
and did the surgeries. I trusted him completely and always
felt I was in the good hands of a very experienced doctor.
My final success story was due to IVF, which I did at age
42. It was a tough decision financially and emotionally to
advance to such measures, but Dr. Chet provided honest
guidance about my declining odds, without pressuring me. I
have great respect for him because of this.
While I agree that his demeanor is different and not
touchy-feely, I sensed his caring and concern in a different
ways. He scheduled my IVF procedure on the July 4th holiday
which fell on a Saturday. I was surprised that he would be
working that day, but he said time was of the essence.
I also felt very comfortable with his nurses and staff who
were personable in the conventional ways he might not have
been. They were always accommodating to my schedule and I
was able to get last minute appointments easily.
As I now have the child I had wanted for so long, I
definitely feel it was all worth it, and I would do it again
in a heartbeat. Dr. Chet was the right doctor for me and
what I needed, and he lead me to a successful outcome. I
hope some of my experience can be helpful in the decisions
you will be facing. Best of luck to you.
-Fellow Dr. Chet patient
I highly recommend Dr. Mary Hinckley. You asked about a couple of
things, so here goes.
First, travel: We mostly went to her Orinda office, but occasionally
went to the San Ramon office for special procedures or weekend
measurements. It's certainly not super convenient, but it was doable.
Frequently for weekday visits I would just Bart there and back to avoid
traffic. It's an easy walk from the station... Maybe 5-10 minutes.
Second, they take this very seriously and don't mess around. Granted we
didn't start seeing her until 9 months of difficulty (2 early
miscarriages, then nothing for several months) by which point I was
already 39. We bypassed clomid altogether to do a couple of rounds of
injectibles with IUI; she encouraged me to use use an acupuncturist to
supplement however needed. While we did get pregnant, we had a
miscarriage at 12 weeks due to Turner's syndrome. She let us grieve
without pressure for a couple of months, and when we returned she
encouraged us to consider IVF (with the option to do genetic testing
on the embryos). Sadly, we discovered my egg quality was just really
poor. When we reached this point (I was 41) she again laid out our
options and encouraged us to consider alternative routes rather than
continuing to pursue more IVFs with my eggs. I'm happy to say we're 30
weeks pregnant with a donor egg from a single round of IVF.
I've not always been in love with the various staffers at RSC, but I've
never questioned my respect for Dr. Hinckley. She does an amazing job of
balancing all the contradictory emotions involved in the infertility
process: compassion and sympathy/ hope and encouragement, urgency and
moving forward/ reflecting and caution, reason and logic/ irrational
Best of wishes as you make your choices. Should you decide to seek out
Dr. Hinckley, I trust she will help you navigate this often tortuous and
I only have one little one right now so I cant speak to help
you decide if you should go ahead with plans for #2, but if
you decide to continue fertility treatment, I would highly
recommend you stick with Dr. Chetkowski
I will tell you my story and then some thoughts on the
bedside manner issue. I saw Dr. C because I had plans to do
IVF with PGD due to genetic issues. During my workup for the
IVF, he discovered that I have a fertility issue with my
uterine lining not developing adequately (in addition to my
genetic concerns). He addressed this using a treatment
option that had only recently been published which indicated
to me that he is still concerned with being at the top of
his profession rather than relying on older methods. Then,
during my HSG there was a major problem with my cervix and
despite 30+ mins of painful trying, the doctor performing
the procedure was unable to insert the catheter to squirt
the dye. He was going to give up which would mean
postponing everything by a month. He offered to call Dr. C
before I left the room and upon receiving the call Dr. C
left his office immediately, came across the street to the
hospital in the poring rain, scrubbed in and did the
procedure himself. He then stayed with me when I was in so
much pain I could not get off the table. No other Dr. I
have ever had would have done this for me.
After 6 months of work together, my IVF was scheduled which
required careful planing on his part due to the PGD
component. A few weeks later, after a lot of contemplation,
I changed my mind about the IVF and decided I wanted to
conceive naturally. When I called the office to say I
thought I was pregnant, he called me back personally to tell
me the test was positive and celebrated with me even though
he had also just lost a 20 thousand dollar client. He
continued to monitor my pregnancy throughout the first
trimester, adding progesterone when my numbers dipped, being
there for me (again a personal call) when I had sudden
bleeding at 7 weeks late on Friday night and performing an
ultrasound the next morning just to make sure everything was
still good. My point is if you want to get and stay
pregnant and there are fertility or genetic issues, I can
not imagine a Dr. who will be more able and more committed
to this outcome and work from the heart to get you there. So, Id say,
dont commute when the best doc is right near by.
Regarding the bedside manner, I did hear this about him
before starting treatment and I did a couple things to
address it. Overall, my goal was to change the dynamic from
that of typical dr/patient to that of two colleagues working
towards a common goal. I achieved this by asking highly
technical questions forcing him to really get inside his
brain to get to the answer at the level I was asking for. I
also didn't hold anything back when it came to sharing my
opinions on things that I liked, didn't like, etc. When he
was direct at me, I was direct right back. He seemed to
really respect this approach and this changed the way he
interacted with me. For you, tell him straight up that you
want to go straight to IVF and why. Stand up for what you
want. He will probably respond well to that. I will see Dr.
C again when its time for #2 whether its just to get my
uterus ready for conception or going with the full IVF PGD.
Good luck with your decision and if you chose to move
forward, conception and pregnancy!
A Dr. C fan
Can anyone recommend a good RE in the East Bay? I don't
seem to have trouble getting pregnant but I have had 3
miscarriages in the last 7 months and I think it's time to
see a specialist. Thanks.
In response to wanting a recommendation for a reproductive
endocrinologist. My husband was diagnosed with cancer and following that
chemotherapy, so our whole getting pregnant experience was at the doctor
(as we had to use frozen sperm).
Kaiser San Francisco has a great
reproductive endocrinology department. Dr. Huang was wonderful and his
nurses were very helpful. We eventually did IVF through the Alta Bates
program, also a wonderful experience - Dr. Chetkowski is extremely
knowledgeable. I know we were in a different situation, but I believe
all of these doctor's work not only with getting you pregnant, but
keeping you pregnant too! CG
3 miscarriages! I'm so sorry. I have also had 3 since my daughter was
born in 2009 (all 1st trimester losses), and after the 3rd, I decided to
see an RE. I researched it heavily and discussed it at length with a
friend who is an OB in another state and with my parents, who are medical
researchers. I realized that I would feel more comfortable seeing someone
academic. There's still so much we don't know about miscarriage. So I
felt/feel more comfortable seeing someone who specializes in recurrent
m/c and doesn't have a business interest in my fertility. I wound up
seeing Heather Huddleston at UCSF.
She is terrific. I was/am very happy
with her and with the whole clinic - nurses, receptionists, etc. The
information they've been able to provide has been so much more detailed
than what I learned from my regular OB. And Dr. Huddleston's nurses have
been easily reachable by phone for follow-up questions. I highly
recommend her - totally worth the pain in the butt of getting there from
the east bay. Feel free to ask our wonderful moderator for my contact
info if you wish to discuss it further. So sorry for your losses. Best of
luck to you... A Rockridge Mom
He's not in the East Bay, but I cannot recommend
Dr. Rosen at UCSF
enough. Both myself and several friends and co-workers are either well
into pregnancy or have kids now because of his (and the team at UCSF's)
help. Not only did he find the cause of my infertility and get me on the
right course of treatment for my long term health but he also ensured
that I got pregnant and have wonderful kids. He really is worth the trip
across the bay.
Hello - I am looking for a Reproductive Endocrinologist in the East
Bay - preferably someone who is friendly to Single Mothers by Choice.
My insurance is tricky, it covers A LOT if the Dr. is under my plan,
nothing if they are not. Here are a few RE's who had popped up when
I searched - if you have any experience with the following please
Sanjay Agarwal or Sonya Kashap
Thanks so much!
Hoping to be a mom soon!
Not in the East Bay but you will not find anybody smarter
than Mitchell Rosen at UCSF.
I saw Dr. Susan Willman
at the Reproductive Science Center
(offices in Orinda and San Ramon) for fertility. I highly
recommend her as a doctor, advocate, and resource. I am a
single soon-to-be mother and she was nothing but supportive.
Although she works at a fertility clinic, she was listed as
an in-network RE in my last 2 insurance networks. Perhaps
she will be in yours. Feel free to email me with more
specific questions if you wish. nm
Having just suffered my third miscarriage in less than a
year (after the birth of a healthy child two years ago), I
am finally looking at getting tested for a whole variety of
things that could be causing the miscarriages.
Right now, I am under the care of my OB/GYN (who is
relatively new to me - only seen her for the past ~6 mos
since my old OB retired). Should I be seeing a fertility
specialist instead? If so, can you recommend someone? I'm in
Oakland and have blue shield PPO.
I always kind of thought fertility specialists were for
people who had trouble conceiving (we definitely don't) or
who wanted to do IVF, but now I wonder if I'm mistaken about
that. I'm really just looking for someone who will take
his/her time and be patient and thorough in helping me get
to the bottom of this - also taking into account my other
health issues and health history. (I have autoimmune
hypothyroidism - currently treated by my fantastic
endocrinologist, but still... I keep reading about
autoimmune this and that and... ugh. It's all so confusing.)
Finally, if you have suffered through recurrent miscarriage
and discovered any resources that were really helpful for
doing your own research and bringing questions to your
doctor, could you point me toward them?
Grateful for the wisdom of your experience
If you're having recurrent miscarriages, have your OB refer
you to a reproductive endocrinologist. We saw one after
having one miscarriage. They ran a whole gamut of tests on
both me and my partner. The OB won't be able to do this and
this is not their area of expertise.
get the help you need
I'm so sorry to hear about your miscarriages. After two miscarriages,
my OB referred me to Reproductive Science Center,
a fertility clinic in
Orinda and I saw Mary Hinckley. At the time I had a 2.5 year old
daughter. We ended up going through two cycles of IUI with no success
and were deciding whether to proceed with IVF. Dr. Hinckley then
referred me to an acupuncturist, Leslie Oldershaw (510) 595-1175) in
Piedmont. A few months after beginning treatment with Leslie, I got
pregnant and now have an active and healthy 17-month old son. I wish
that I'd gone to Leslie before trying the IUIs because the drugs are no
fun. Best of luck on your journey for baby #2. Shauna
I have had 8 miscarriages and now have two living daughters. My
miscarriages ranged from 4-6 weeks early ones, ruptured ectopic and two
full term uterine ruptures. My youngest daughter is the result of
assistance from Dr. Phillip Chenette at Pacific Fertility in San
He specializes in women over 40 which makes his statistics even more
impressive. Some, if not all, of your diagnostic work should be covered
by your insurance.
You may also need to work with a perinatologist once you do get pregnant
again since you're at high risk of having another miscarriage.
I can highly recommend that you talk with
a wonderful and very knowledgeable womens-reproductive
health advocate who blends both Eastern & Western
perspectives -- she is an accupuncturist. She has a
beautiful, relaxing, and very professional practice at the
top of Grand Avenue. She is also works closely with women
to help them understand, research, and know their options in
interacting with the world of fertility specialists. Her
personal, wholistic, and caring environment made a huge
difference in my experiences with challenges of getting &
If you do go the RE route, I highly recommend Dr. Richard
Chetkowski who is a Reproductive Endocrinologist with his
own practice near Alta Bates. I find, and know myself, that
there can feel like a huge barrier or committment to talk
with a RE. But, I highly recommend setting up an
appointment to talk with someone like Dr. Chet. He is very
clear-thinking and will be able to very quickly help you
understand where you may fall in the realm of fertility
issues and considerations. Of course, they will always be
willing to move forward into helping you (i.e. starting
fertility based assistance), but he would be a very clear
and kind, experienced doctor, for helping you understand how
your situation fits in the fertility world.
My experience is based on using Dr. Chetkowski & Leslie to
conceive one healthy daughter (now 2), after dealing with an
ectopic pregnancy & a number of fertility issues. I also
worked with others, who were *not* good, and so have a
strong basis for recommending these two. Good luck.
My husband and I are looking for subjections about your
experience with donor egg and clinic. We're currentle with
a clinic in Berkeley and we have done a IVF and IUI. still
not be able to get PG. Does any one have a place for us?
and a good doctor who will espend time with us and not
only business with us. Thanks!!!!
I can highly recommend from experience the following
fertility clinic. They will allow you to do some of the
testing in the Bay Area if you can not travel to Reno for
all your testing. I could go on and on about how warm and
supportive they were vs. the bay area clinic we were first
involved in, and they were less expensive in the long run
which made it worth the trips up to Reno. Also, I would
highly recommend doing acupuncture along with your
fertility treatments. I credit Leslie Oldershaw (in
Piedmont) with my ability to finally get pregnant.
Nevada Center for Reproductive Medicine
645 Sierra Rose Drive, Suite 205
Reno, Nevada 89511
I had a very good experience with
Dr Susan Willman out in
Orinda. 2 normal kids aged 7 & 11 from the same donor
cycle; 1st fresh, 2nd frozen, to show for it.
Yeah, and I had several awful experiences before I found
her. So, I have a clue about what you are feeling and am
wishing you the best!!! A lot of it is just the luck of
the draw, of course, but I do think that Dr Willman is
I am beginning to look into becoming a single mother by
choice. It is overwhelming! I have done the initial blood
tests (through my FNP) and was told things look good but
am wondering if I should make an appointment with an RE.
I have an OB/GYN, but don't know where to go from here.
Since these initial tests are normal, is it necessary to
see an RE? How would what he/she tells me be different
from my OB/GYN or the folks at the sperm bank? I am
almost 38 and have somewhat irregular periods and would
like to take the route that is moste effective in getting
Also, does anyone have recommendations for a good,
reasonable RE in the Oakland/Berkeley area?
moving forward with motherhood
I can't recommend a reproductive specialist, but I wanted to
recommend some things that I found extremely helpful in
getting pregnant (via home insemination with anonymous donor
1. The book: Taking Charge of Your Fertility (this book may
help you decide if you need to see a specialist).
2. Pre-seed lubricant. (If you attempt vaginal inseminations
you will need this at your age as a vehicle for the sperm).
3. Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor. (It is worth the money
to know exactly when you're ovulating).
Best of Luck!
RE is not always necessary (we saw Dr Susan Willman in
Orinda, who was not technically an RE but she basically
provided RE services), but I would definitely avoid your
average OB/GYN who just tells you that they are fertility
specialists. If you want to address fertility issues, at a
minimum go to someone who really is a fertility specialist
(minimally Dr Willman), not an OB/GYN who just has an
interest in fertility but is basically an OB/GYN who sees
the range of OB/GYN patients (eg Dr Streitfield, who I saw
at first and who didn't really have much knowledge beyond
prescribing Clomid), and who was completly wrong about my
situation). See someone who only sees fertility patients
if you're serious about the need for a specialist. Don't
waste those precious months on someone who just wants to
prescribe Clomid w/o understanding the issues.
Can anyone recommend an OB/GYN in the east bay that specializes
in fertility issues? I recently had a missed abortion and also
have been diagnosed w/ hypothyroidism. I'm a little concerned
that my current OB/GYN thinks my thyroid levels are ''normal''
especially given the fact that I've been trying to conceive for
a year and had a miscarriage in March. My acupuncturist was
actually the one who suggested I have my thyroid checked out and
has been more helpful with fertility information than my OB/GYN.
Thanks in advance for your recommendations!
If you have fertility concerns, head straight to a reproductive
endocronologist. Most ob/gyns have some fertility knowledge and
will try to be helpful, but what they can do is quite limited. On
the other hand, there are many great doctors in the Bay Area
associated with fertility clinics who can answer the questions you
have, suggest other things to look into, can go as far as you
need/or want to go, and save you a lot of time in the process. I
found Drs. Willman and Weckstein
very helpful, but the best thing to
do is to interview someone and if it doesn't feel like a
fit...interview someone else. Hopefully everything will resolve
quickly and easily for you.
While not in the East Bay, if fertility concerns are primary and you
can travel, I highly recommend Valerie Baker at
Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center
clinic (http://www.stanfordivf.com/). I spent about a year trying
to get pregnant at a clinic in another state, and when I moved to
the East Bay, decided to go to the Stanford clinic (despite the
drive). I've never regretted the decision. I found the entire
office incredibly thoughtful and well-managed, down to providing
free coffee and wireless in the waiting room. I found that Dr.
Baker was very careful, and thorough, as well as being a positive
person who just made me feel at ease. I always felt like my
questions and concerns were respected and received helpful
responses. It was clear she was thinking about my case in
particular, and while the diagnostic tests she recommended in my
case did not reveal a problem, it was good to know that, and I was
disappointed that my previous office was not nearly as thorough. I
felt listened to,
and liked that (except on weekends) I generally saw my assigned
doctor. That said, the other doctor I interacted with there on
occasion, Dr. Lathi, was also excellent. It's a first-rate
facility, and after only a few months trying under Dr. Baker's care,
I'm pregnant (and thrilled). Even though I'm sure she sees success
stories frequently, I was touched at how excited Dr. Baker was with
me and for me when the pregnancy ''took.'' I'm not at all convinced
that I would have gotten pregnant if my standard of care had
remained what it was at the fertility clinic where I went
Note that this is not a full service OB/GYN office; now that I'm
nearly 10 wks. pregnant, I'm transitioning to another provider in
the East Bay for prenatal care and delivery. However, I would
absolutely do it again despite the hour each way to get there. If
you can time appointments so you miss rush hour (and I usually
could), you can get there with minimal hassle, and you will have
some of the best care that's available.
Happily Pregnant at Long Last
I am sorry to hear about your recent miscarriage. You should check
out Dr. Henry ''Hank'' Streitfeld
in Berkeley. I think I actually
found him through BPN. We went through something similar and he was
incredibly kind and warm and took great care of me through the
miscarriage, subsequent pregnancy and post-partum. His sense of
humor isn't for everyone, but he is an excellent physician and has
been helping couples with fertility issues for years. Good luck!
Run, don't walk to a fertility specialist. There are a lot of great
clinics and fertility doctors in the Bay Area. Maybe someone will
be able to steer you towards a good OB GYN, but I have heard too
many bad stories about wasted time with GYN's. I used
I'm looking at past posts to the BPN site and wondered if there
was more up to date information on local fertility clinics. I
just had a horrible IVF experience at Stanford and am looking at
I'm considering either Dr. Chetkowski at Alta Bates, or the
Zouves Fertility Clinic in Daly City.
Does anyone have any recent experience with either?
Zouves has higher statistics of live births, but I've also read
many positive posts about Chetkowski on this site.
Any advice would be really appreciated.
So sorry that you have had such a bad experience with IVF. We also had a
terrible first experience with a fertility doctor in San Francisco. After
that we shopped around for another doctor very carefully. We even looked
out of state. We decided on
Dr. Victor Fujimoto at UCSF's Center for
Reproductive Health. He was very informative and supportive. I also saw
other doctors there and felt they were excellent as well. We were in it
for the long haul and did eight cycles. I felt Dr. Fujimoto and all of
the staff at UCSF monitored my medical care carefully and handled my
seesawing emotions with amazing patience. If I had to go through it all
over again I would without hesitation go to UCSF.
I think that statistics are very important but that they can also be
misleading. One clinic may have a higher number of live births simply
because they only treated those patients who had a high chance of success.
A frequent use of donor eggs could also make the numbers higher. There
are a lot of factors that go into these statistics and they all need to be
separated out to be accurate. The first fertility doctor I saw had great
numbers. After seeing her a few times she told me (very coldly and over
the phone) that because of my high FSH it was impossble for me to get
pregnant (wrong!). Devastated I went back for another appointment where I
was told (again very coldly) of my options. After I declined the use of
donor eggs she refused to try IVF with my own eggs and said if that is
what I wanted to try I needed to go somewhere else. At UCSF there was
none of this arrogance. They gave me the information I needed to make
informed decisions and then supported me.
Best Wishes from Someone Whose Been There
I did IVF with a clinic based in Marin, www.marinreproductive.com, and
worked with Dr. SAE H. SOHN, M.D.
He was recommended to me by the
fertility Dr. I was seeing at the time at SF Kaiser, who wasn't able to
offer IVF at that time (3 years ago). I believe Dr. Sohn's office has
recently joined to become an extension office of the UCSF reproductive
clinics. Dr. Sohn was incredibly gentle and calm. His office and staff
were very available and supportive. In our case, the problem was male
factor. IVF with ICSI worked for us - we did one cycle of harvesting eggs
and one cycle of implantation that resulted in a very healthy baby girl. I
was 38 at the time of pregnancy. I did have an over reaction to the
hormones for harvesting the eggs, but he was able to slow down the
treatments to complete the cycle without having to start all over again.
All the procedures were done in his quiet, private office. A very serene
location. I traveled to Marin from Oakland via the ferry and walking,
but it was worth it. I recommend him highly. Feel free to email if you
want to discuss further.
We initially used Pacific Fertility Clinic in SF.
They made mistakes, were difficult to reach and had
higher prices than UCSF. They actually made a very egregious mistake in
our cases by giving us the wrong form, hence wrong instructions and
medical schedule, thus aborting a good pregnancy. And I know of two other
couples with negative experiences with them.
We ended up using UCSF,
which was fabulous. UCSF is a non-profit as
compared to many fertility centers, their prices are lower, their staff is
top notch - on the cutting edge of research, they are very pleasant, and
very accessible. I couldn't recommend UCSF more highly!
I know you asked for local clinics but I'd look at Portland, OR. I know it
sounds far, and yes it adds to the cost, but they have great success rates
- I would definately consider travelling. I don't reccomend Pacific
Fertility in SF - had a bad expereince there before starting a cycle & was
mislead by doctors - well, lied to really. I cycled at Stanford with
Manchi about 3 years ago & did not get pregnant but it was not a bad
experience (needed PGD and they were the place to go for that). Sorry you
had a bad experience there. Consider Colorado too.
we worked with Pacific Fertility
in the city, and were happy enough with
them to go to them again recently to try for another (we work with Dr
Schriock). they are quite professional, caring and competent, if busy.
I would also highly
recommend getting acupuncture starting a few months before you try to get
your bod in a receptive condition.
worked for us
I would highly recommend that you check out Dr. Schriock and Dr. Givens at
Pacific Fertility Center
in San Francisco. After seeing another local
highly regarded RE who missed a basic condition I had and was never
available for phone calls, I changed to PFC and after 4 IVF's (I have a
rare problem) we are due with our first child in 5 weeks. Dr. Schriock is
smart and compassionate and worth the cost and commute.
Wishing you GOOD luck!! IF is hell.
We used Zouves
on the recommendation of our acupuncturist, Angela Wu. Dr
Zouves was warm, hard working and very supporting. When he heard Angela
Wu had reffered us he said to continue taking her herbs and following her
guidelines, and was supportive of eastern pratices. I also liked that he
looked at immune system issues in regards to fertility. Every doctor I
had seen said I'd get pregnant no problem based on my blood tests etc, to
no avail, but Zouves looked more deeply. And now I'm the mama to twins!
Another thing I liked was that he worked with my schedule- didn't put me
on birth control to sync into his schedule. He works weekends too! I was
very happy with Zouves.
Best fertility clinic in the Bay area is actually in a Denver, Colorado
suburb called Englewood. It's called The
Colorado Center for Reproductive
Medicine. They are the best in the country. I'm currently pregnant at
age 44 from a cycle there with my own eggs. Almost any other IVF lab in
the country would have killed my embryos at this age, but on day three
they were all 8-cell grade 4 or 4- (4 is best at CCRM). They also tested
the eggs' polar bodies so they could discard genetically abnormal embryos
(aneuploidy), thereby decreasing my potential miscarriage rate.
The way to become their patient is:
1) schedule a 1-hour telephone consultation ($250)
2) fly to Denver for your one-day workup, in which they will repeat all
testing including hysteroscopy and sperm analysis
3) cycle with local monitoring until you fly to Denver for 4-14 days,
depending on the protocol.
You can see all the clinic outcomes on www.sart.org or get them as a
downloadable excel spreadsheet from http://www.cdc.gov/art/
This may not show up niceley in the BPN newsletter but I took the excel
spreadsheet, deleted all the clinics except California and CCRM (I had
previously figured out CCRM was the best), deleted non-Bay Area clinics,
deleted clinics that were too small to have any statistically significant
results, and sorted the outcomes by the live birth rate for the youngest
patients (see key at the bottom). The youngest are the easiest to get
A tough case, I wouldn't go anywhere else
I would like to strongly endorse Dr. Zouves.
I found his bedside manner
to be impeccable, and his thoroughness to be unmatched. Yes, you will
probably have to undergo more pre-cycle testing than at other clinics
which can be more expensive and perhaps annoying, but he leaves nothing to
chance, and no stone unturned in heading off at the pass any potential
problem with a cycle.
I had a negative experience at UCSF, where I felt like I barely had a
relationship with my primary physician there. I saw whoever was on call.
Dr. Zouves is unique in that he's a one man show. It may take a little
longer to get in to see him, but I really think the quality of care is
worth the wait.
I don't know anyone who has done IVF at Alta Bates, so I can't speak to
that, but you have a ringing endorsement for Zouves Fertility Center here.
We were so underwhelmed with PFC (Pacific Fertility Center) and their
statistics ''less than 8% chance'' of a pregnancy that we also traveled to
Colorado for our first IVF
at CCRM and had the best experience possible. Dr.
Schoolcraft is the very best!
Finally a Mother at 42
I missed the original post on this, but read the responses. I saw one person
recommended highly against
Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco, and I
couldn't disagree more. I went to another clinic (RSC) and didn't think they
were aggressive enough, and got discouraged with insurance run-arounds and
the inability to ever see my doctor. So I switched to PFC and saw Dr. Eldon
Schriock. He is amazing, empathetic and encouraging - yet realistic. I never
had a problem scheduling, their fees are comparable to any other in the Bay
Area (it's not a regulated field, so everyone's prices are high, quite
frankly) and they are extremely professional and compassionate. After 4
miscarriages and one failed IVF (the first failed IVF was at PFC, for the
sake of honest reporting), I am now 5 weeks from my due date (a singleton).
Speaking of which -- PFC is also not SO aggressive (at least Dr. Schriock
isn't) that you'll end up with a scary number of multiples, which is
something to consider. I wouldn't necessarily go on pregnancy rates provided by clinics,
either. Technically, a twin pregnancy I had that only reached implantation
and no heartbeats, goes down in the stats as a pregnancy. It's more
important you go with a place that makes you feel comfortable and confident
- because that will help you conceive as well.
I underwent two procedures at Reproductive Science Center (RSC). The first was using a donor (from which
I believe 24 eggs were harvested but the lab was only able to produce a
small number of embryos.) Despite being told that the procedure was
perfectly executed, that procedure was unsuccessful. The second procedure
was an FET (frozen embryo transfer).
The day before I was to go in for the FET, a nurse called to confirm the
medication I was taking. It turned out that one of the necessary
medications had not been prescribed, after a brief silence on the phone, the
nurse said that she would call me back. When she did she said it was still
okay to proceed. The next day, I asked the staff if not having that
medication made a difference. All assured me it would be fine. Well, that
cycle also failed, maybe because of the medication or not, who knows.
I decided that after spending thousands of dollars and having nothing to
show for it, I wouldn't proceed any further. I told RSC to either discard
or use the remaining embryos for research. Several months later they billed
me for several months of storage saying that I needed a notarized document
to discard. Of course, it would have been nice if they had told me that
originally instead of waiting several months and racking up more fees of
To add to the already pleasant experience of two unsuccessful procedures,
shooting needles in my legs for months, and spending thousands of dollars
for failed treatments, they then disputed a $500 discount that had been
offered for 2nd cycles and threatened collections.
Happy Mom Of Beautiful Adopted Son
I am trying to find out if anyone has had a good experiece with NOVA. I am 39 and they seem
to be the only program in the area that offers the guarantee or multi-try packages for women
over 38, but I haven't seen any postings about them. Also, if people know of other places in
the bay area that offer this to people over 38, I'd love to know that as well. I also heard
that Kaiser Walnut Creek and Hayward do IVF, but can't find success rates anywhere, so would
be interested to get feedback on them too. You can also email me at email@example.com.
I was 39 when I enrolled with Pacific Fertility Center
in SF. If you are under 40,
and after a couple of basic hormone tests, you pass their screening, an MD may approve
you for their ''shared risk'' program. Essentially you can pay for several IVF cycles
at once, for a lot less than the cost of two separate ones, and the cost includes any
frozen cycles with extra embryos left from a cycle. Of course, if you get pregnant
the first cycle, you've paid for a second cycle that you didn't need. Cost excludes
meds and a few other things I can't remember but the main costs are included. It
worked in the end for me (on second cycle) and I gave birth at 41. You may want to
check them out. Good luck. kate
You can get stats on IVF success rates at various infertility clinics on the CDC
website at: http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/ART2003/clinics03.asp
Unfortunately they run a few years behind and so 2003 is the latest, but 2004
statistics should be coming out soon.
My advice to you would be to look beyond whether a clinic offers a guarantee/discount
plan and instead focus your efforts on the clinic that will give you the very best
chance of success. Surprisingly, while the Bay Area has so much to offer in so many
areas, our infertility clinics do not have the highest success rates. I ended up
going to Portland Center for Reproductive Medicine
in Oregon, and it was surprisingly
easy, with comparable costs and very little travel necessary. The Colorado Center for
Reproductive Medicine also has excellent stats for older women.
Good luck to you
I am thinking of switching to Blue Shield HMO from Kaiser. I
am just starting to be seen at the Kaiser fertility clinic, and
both my Kaiser and potential Blue Shield only pay for 50% of
treatment. I am wondering what current recommendations might be
for a Blue Shield OB/gyn in the area who also deals with
fertility issues. I'm also wondering if more simple fertility
issues (non-IVF)could be addressed as a regular office visit to
an Ob/gyn, and not a fertility specialist, which would be
covered in full as opposed to 50%. At Kaiser you are
automatically transferred to the fertility clinic so everything
is only covered at 50%, even though I would imagine some of
the tests could be done by a regular ob/gyn. So, I guess I'm
trying to find a good ob/gyn who is good with fertility issues
and might also be willing to see patients for this as part of
a regular office visit.
I have heard that some primary care docs and OB's will give
Clomid without asking a patient to see a fertility doc first. I'm
not sure who they are, but you'd best just be direct and ask
them. If you are uncomfortable with it, just first say ''I am
trying to optimize my insurance coverage for fertility treatment,
which can be very, very costly.''
By the way, lucky you that your insurance pays 50%!
I don't know about Ob's who also deal with fertility issues,
but I do have some advice. My husband and I have a 17 month old
son who was conceived using injectible medications combined
with IUI. (I'm hoping you know about the infertilty lingo...)
This was while we lived on the East Coast. We moved to Walnut
Creek about 8 months ago and have recently been thinking of
trying to have a second baby. My husband is a physician who
knows the Ob/gyns and Infertility docs in the area. Through his
work and personal connections, he decided that Reproductive
Science Center would be a good place for us to start. We have
seen Dr. Willman and Dr. Hinckley and have been very happy with
them so far. We have yet to embark on any actual treatment, but
I have a few friends who had success at this clinic.
We recently switched to Blue Shield HMO. As you know the
fertility coverage is not great in California. So I completely
understand why you are trying to find an Ob/Gyn rather than a
Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). However, speaking strictly
from a medical point of view, I would urge you to go straight
to an RE if at all possible. Though some Obs do have an
interest and experience in fertility, I don't think it can
compare with that of a specialist in this field. I have read
countless books and articles on the topic. The consensus in the
infertility community is that it's best to go straight to an RE
if you have been trying to have a baby for 12 months or more
and have been unsuccessful. The number of months goes down to 6
if you're 35 years or older.
So I guess I would answer your second question by saying that
yes, it may be possible to address ''simple'' fertility isses at
a regular office visit with an Ob.(I'm not sure there is such a
thing...) I realize I am speaking without any knowledge of your
fertility problems. Even so, if you truly do have infertility,
your very best bet would be to see an RE at least once. Hope
this helps, and best of luck to you.
I had fertility issues too and I would recommend going to see a
fertility specialst if you're serious about conceiving. If you
have a medical spending account at work, the copays for
doctor's visits (even IUI) are covered
I can't speak for certain on the fertility issues part of your
question. But I can recommend an OB that might fit your bill.
I've seen Dr. Kanwit at East Bay Physicians Medical group
(formerly known as OB/GN Fertility Specialists)for my first
pregnancy, and now ongoing for my second. I had Blue Shield
HMO with my first pregnancy (and subsequent visits) and now we
have Blue Shield PPO. Once my OB gave the thumbs up after my
first child, we spoke of fertility (1st one was unplanned), but
we didn't go too into depth, since we weren't quite ready for a
second yet. I believe she (or really any of the doctor's in
the group) could handle what you are asking for. You can
always call them and speak to their office staff, they are
friendly. Their phone number is (510) 845-8047. They are
located in Berkely on Telegraph, just above Ashby Ave.
Goodluck! I hope you find what you need! Oh, and you can
always contact me directly if you need more info.
I'd like to hear from women who've done IUI or IVF recently at
some of the Bay Area clinics and to get feedback on their
experience. My husband and I recently tried Reproductive Science
Center in Orinda and I'm not sure how we feel about the
experience, and would like to compare to other people's experiences.
If you're reading this and have recent (2004 and after) and
relevant experience, or know someone who does, we'd really like
to get some feedback. thanks.
Pacific Fertility Center
Reproductive Science Center
Stanford Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Center
UCSF Center for Reproductive Health (4)
Re: Experience with Bay Area Fertility clinics? (June 2005)
Does anyone have experience (good or bad) buying IVF medications online from
European (or other overseas) pharmacies, such as www.ivfmeds.com? The prices are
considerably cheaper than even the cheapest U.S. based online pharmacies, and
appears to be the exact same products (Gonal-F). They say they account for the
time customs takes in their estimated shipping time. Other than the additional time
shipping, does anyone know of any reason NOT to order from overseas? Thanks for
I bought Gonal F and Antagon from ivfmeds.com a couple of years
ago for IVF #1 and would highly recommend. It was a very easy
process, the order arrived within a few days (sent from a
London pharmacy) and I saved a ton of money - we were
completely self funding. As an aside, there's a website called
freegaragesale.com which, in its medical category, lists
private sales of IVF drugs. I had a good experience with a
seller for my 2nd (successful) IVF cycle, but it's obviously a
I have Blue Shield PPO and am absolutely amazed and frustrated
to find that there is not a single RE listed on my plan within
100+ mile radius! I have called my insurance provider
already...this is how I know about the 100+ mile radius.
Any of you have any experience with a local East Bay RE AND have
Blue Shield as your insurance and would be willing to share your
Prefer someone in the East Bay.
I highly reccomend travelling down to Stanford if you can
manage it. Incredible staff, doctors, nurses etc -- and they
take just about any insurance (from what I gather). I did IVF
down there and was able to schedule all my app'ts to avoid
traffic. Parking is easy too.
I know this might sound nutty, but since most companies have
open enrollment in December, you should immediately change your
insurance if you can. We had really horrible coverage with Blue
Shield/Cross for infertility. We had expensive co-pays for
everything. If you are beginning this journey, you are much
better off with Kaiser or another plan that covers way more of
the testing and procedures. That said, we ended up having to
pay for our IVF out of pocket, but at least we had all the other
things that we tried paid for first. Sorry that I can't help you
find someone local.
I've had trouble keeping early term pregnancies and was advised
to see an Endocrinologist. Does anyone have experience with
Dr.John Linfoot or with other area endocrinologists for dealing
with potential reproductive issues?
I went through 4 years of infertility and did a ton of
research. While you can go to any basic endocrinologist for
your basic testing (fsh, etc.), I'd recommend Dr. Zouves for
being the absolute best in the area. His email is:
Also, if you're 40 or over, there is a wonderful email list
called ''fortility'' which is for women of this age trying to
conceive. I found it to contain some of the smartest, most
upbeat, well-researched people I've ever met. Go to
www.surrogacy.org for info.
Rachelle Halpern in Berkeley 843.5000 is a great
endocrinologist. I'm sure she'd be happy to talk to you about
fertility issues and whether or not she can help. Good luck!
I understand your request is in regard to reproductive issues
but I thought you might like to have any comment regarding
Linfoot's office. My husband is currently seeing Dr. Linfoot
for thyroid problems.
We recently moved to the Bay Area and had not even seen a GP
when my husband woke up recently with a very large growth on his
throat. We found a GP who immediately sent us to an ear, nose
and throat specialist and he, in turn, sent us to Dr. Linfoot.
This all happened within 5 days.
Dr. Linfoot had no appointments available but he stayed after
hours to see my husband.
I am very particular about doctors and believe in taking a
proactive role in health care. Prior to our visit with Dr.
Linfoot, I spent hours and hours on the internet comparing
information as well as talking to several doctor friends from
the Houston Medical Center in Houston. (We just moved here from
Dr. Linfoot was excellent. He answered our multitude of
questions. He was current on all different types of
procedures. He was patient and kind, never rushing us in any
way. I was very impressed.
We are down to a decision regarding surgery to remove the
thyroid and Dr. Linfoot is working with us to make the
decision. I highly recommend him as an endrocrinologist.
I saw John Linfoot for a thyroid problem a few years ago, and I
wasn't thrilled with the practice. While I liked him and the
other doctor I saw, I thought their follow-up was not very good
or very thorough. I got the impression that the specialty of the
practice was diabetes. I suggest you find someone who
specializes in reproductive endocrinology specifically. Not only
do you want someone who knows all the latest developments in
this area, but someone with at least an inkling of the emotional
issues involved with these problems as well. RESOLVE of Northern
California used to have a referral list of fertility
specialists, you might contact them.
Please check out http://184.108.40.206/board/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=108
or http://220.127.116.11/board/allboards.html You
will find tons of information on IVF in California at the link
above. Several people have been have listed recommendations, or
experiences at the clinics you have mentioned. If you have
trouble with these links please let me know. Good Luck! Mary
Resolve of Northern California is a group that helps people with fertility
problems in a number of ways. I received their helpful,
informative newsletters and joined one of their support groups during our
struggle with fertility. (I don't know if this is more than lucky coincidence,
but everyone in my support group ended up having a child or children
one way or another.) The phone number is (415) 788-6772. It's in San
Francisco, but our support group was in the East Bay and the annual
conference we went to was at Mills College. Your friend should call
them and find out what is going on in San Jose, and about other large
scale events she could attend. www.resolve.org
I would also recommend a support network for fertility Resolve. They have a web
site and have a good deal of information and terrific volunteer support. Here is the
northern California chapter web site http//www.ihr.com/resolve/nchome.html
Best of luck!!
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