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Fertility Specialists

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Health & Medical > ObGyns > Fertility Specialists


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Fertility specialists in the east bay, ambivalance

July 2011

hi everyone, 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!! Kim
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


Hi, 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 desires.

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 torturous path. Robin


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


Reproductive Endocrinologist in East Bay

June 2011

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.


Hello, 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. Kate

Reproductive Endocrinologist covered by my insurance?

Feb 2011

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 share: 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. pregnant
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

Recurrent miscarriage - resources & fertility recs

Feb 2011

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? Many thanks. 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 Francisco. http://www.pacificfertilitycenter.com/welcome/philip_chenette.php

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. Good luck! Sabrina


I can highly recommend that you talk with Leslie Oldershaw, 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 & remaining pregnant.

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. reba


Infertility with donor eggs

March 2010

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!!!! luli


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
Phone: 775-828-1200
http://nevadafertility.com
anon
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 particularly talented. Lucky

When is an RE necessary?

Jan 2010

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 me pregnant. 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 sperm).

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.

OB/GYN with fertility expertise

June 2009

hi there, 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. Good luck
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 previously.

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! anon
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 UCSF Fertility Center. been there

Seeking information on local fertility clinics

Oct 2007

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 other options. 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. K


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. maxine
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. good luck
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. Anon
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. Stephanie
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 right.

good luck! 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. Rebecca


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. -- Anon.


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 $250/quarter.

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


NOVA in vitro fertilization?

Nov 2006

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 rebdwlng@yahoo.com. Thanks


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 Anon


Blue Shield HMO-Ob/Gyn-fertility issues

Aug 2006

Hello: 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. Thanks, Rebecca


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%! JM
Hello Rebecca, 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. Anon


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 been there
Hi- 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. kukana

Experience with Bay Area Fertility clinics?

June 2005

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.
Re: Experience with Bay Area Fertility clinics? (June 2005)
Recommended:

  • Pacific Fertility Center
  • Reproductive Science Center
  • Stanford Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Center
  • UCSF Center for Reproductive Health (4)

    Buying IVF meds online from Europe?

    May 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 any advice.


    Hi, 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 little risky. Good luck!

    Reproductive Endocrinologist - Blue Shield

    Nov 2004

    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. Arrrrgghhhh. 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 little secret??! Prefer someone in the East Bay. Many thanks, Lauri


    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. Good luck
    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. Annie

    Endocrinologist John Linfoot?

    August 2003

    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? seeking answers


    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: http://www.goivf.com/ 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. good luck, cat
    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! peggy
    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 Houston.) 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. PJ
    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. Mary

    Online Resources

    Nov. 2003

    Re: IVF
    Please check out http://207.44.160.141/board/forumdisplay.php?s=&forumid=108 or http://207.44.160.141/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

    May 2000

    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!! Molly (5/00)
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