Berkeley Parents Network >
Health & Medical >
Re: Reproductive Endocrinologist covered by my insurance?
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
Re: Considering IVF after repeated miscarriage
We've been doing IVF with Reproductive Science Center of the Bay
area, and we have had a good experience (plain old unexplained
fertility over here!) ...
If you do decide to stay local, I highly recommend Dr
Susan Willman at Reproductive Science Center in Orinda/San Ramon.
She is very smart, caring and honest about the likelihood of
success. I think she is also the director of PGD at RSC. Best of
luck to you--M/c's are awful.
After two miscarriages and a few tests that have come back normal,
my OB is recommending that I see a fertility specialist to see if
they can find the cause of the miscarriages (I have one child born
in 2006 with no intervention).
I'm looking for comments and experiences (b/c the archives are
several years out of date) specifically about:
The Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area (in Orinda/San
Ramon) - which doctor should I try to see?
I recently started seeing Dr. Susan Willman at RSC in Orinda
(she works in the San Ramon office too) and I really like her.
She's very good about patiently explaining every step and
option-- something that my previous RE wasn't good at (Dr.
Hirata at Kaiser Oakland-- who is very nice and a good doctor,
but rushes through things at an alarming pace). Also, Dr.
Willman is very understanding about doing wanted tests to get to
the bottom of things. I recently had a miscarriage-- and many
doctors won't start testing you for problems if you've ''just''
had one-- but she was willing to explore possible problem areas
for me to put my mind at ease, something I greatly appreciate.
Good luck. I'm sorry you've had to go through this.
Re: Infertility over 44
I was 42 with my first and 45 with my second.
My #s were such that donar eggs seemed like the only way. I,
like you, did everything groovy; acupuncture, acupressure,
years of herb drinks, clomid and oh yeah! sex and ovulation
kits....first. I had a couple of possibly incompetent and
certainly untalented fertility doctors before I lucked into Dr
Susan Willman out in Orinda.
She did a series of plastic surgeries on my uterous, made it a
good place to grow in and set me up with the egg brokers. (my
words, not hers) That was an amazing process. I could write a
lot about it but, in the end, we got a lovely woman who was the
same chop suey mix that I am. She had the same hands, feet,
coloring, texture, and general build as me. However, she had no
history of insanity or anything except the occaisional
alcoholic in her background, which, in my case was trading up.
So, while I felt a lot about having to have a donar egg, I also
feel a lot of relief knowing that I am the only one genetically
pre-disposed to senile dementia and paranoid delusions in our
little family. As a mother, there is enough powerlessness!
Re: Infertility in our 40's
Infertility is extremely common for women in their 40s. I recommend
going to a
reproductive endocrinologist rather than a regular ob-gyn to find out
what's going on
and to discuss your options. I highly recommend Dr. Susan Willman at
RSC in Orinda.
She's very competent, compassionate, and a great communicator.
Because of your age, I think you should go see a fertility
doctor. I got lucky with Dr. Susan Willman after wasting quite
a lot of time & $ with others. I also did a lot of
accupuncture, Chinese herbs, and everything elsealternative.
Willman did some plastic surgery on my uterus and IVF and I
have 2 perfect children. I think doing everything is good. I
mean some people never get lucky no matter what they do but I
felt that it all added up to make it work.
I only mention your age because I was 42 & 45 when I had my
kids and man! TIRED? So tired. Plus, most of my ''peers'' in
motherhood now, could be my kids if not for birth control.
Re: local fertility specialist
I can highly recommend Dr. Susan Wilman of Reproductive Science Centers
of the Bay Area at (925) 254-0444. She has an office in Orinda and
Pleasanton. She was very caring, practical and gave you all the
information you wanted about the processes you were considering. Her
staff was always friendly and helpful.
Re: Fertility at age 39
I noticed someone recommended Susan Willman to you and I want
to add my 2 cents:
She is great. I went through what you are now experiencing. I
tried everything and crying, begging, many times with my HMO to
change Doctors, I somehow finaly got with Susan Willman.
I don't want to bore you with what I had to live through to get
there, and it was worth it. She did quite a lot of ''plastic
surgery'' on my uterus, removing non-oxygen producing areas,
making room, etc.....pronounced it ''beautiful'' and did IVF. I
will say that she never gave me a ray of false hope and
sometimes I wished she would not make it sound like such a long
shot. I did 4 rounds before I got my son. He is perfect.
The second (IVF) pregnancy came & went easily and I have 2
perfect boys; 5 & 8 years old thanks to her.
I can not say enough good things about her. I have heard people
get mad about this and that, the office / business end / her
manner..... I can only praise her. Because when all is said and
done, I have 2 perfect children after 7 years of trying
everything and a lot of demoralizing incompetence from other
Drs who have good local reputations.
I feel disloyal mentioning that there even was a negative side,
but, we are so pumped up on hormones and hope and fear,
frustration, sadness,....so much.....! How could there not be
something? And what we have to do to pay for it? Another whole
subject! But anyway, I just wanted to chime in and say that
Susan Willman is a saint in my heart and I am eternally
gratefull to her. She is a very talented reproductive
endocrinologist as well as a uterus sculptor.
She is great!
Re: Reproductive Specialist Recommendations?
You don't say where you are located. That will make a big difference,
because if you end up doing any ''assisted'' reproduction, you are in
the doctor's office/lab a lot for ultrasounds, blood work, etc. So if
possible, find a great physician near to your home or workplace.
If you are in Oakland or Lamorinda, I highly recommend Dr. Susan
Willman of Reproductive Science Center in San Ramon and Orinda. She
works out of Orinda, although some procedures are done in San Ramon
because that facility is bigger. Our experience is not that recent
(1999 through 2001) but she helped us through our fertility adventure
with compassion, dedication, up-to-date knowledge of procedures and a
nice dry sense of humor. We became pregnant three times under her
care, although lost two of the pregnancies to miscarriage. However we
now have 5-year-old twins and couldn't have asked for a better doctor
than Dr. Willman. She repeatedly worked weekends on her own to do
procedures, spent tons of time with us and also urged us to do one
last assisted cycle after we had pretty much given up on the whole
thing. That cycle produced our twins, and we are so glad we listened
to her advice.
One piece of unsolicited advice, especially if you are 35 or older: do
not delay your visit--see a reproductive endocrinologist like
Dr. Willman as soon as possible. A regular OB/GYN, even one who
''specializes'' in infertility, is not good enough. You need an RE.
Good Luck, It's All Worth It
My husband and I used Dr. Susan Wilman before she joined a
group. She is now associated with a Fertility Group in San
Ramon. She has an office in Orinda. We can't say enough about
her and would highly recommend her. She is very compasionate,
while still being straight forward. We have a beautiful little
girl! But it did take us a few years. Good luck
Re: Weckstein or Willman?
I'm a former patient of Dr. Willman's -- she's in the same
practice with Dr. Weckstein, with whom I have had no experience.
We have a 2-year-old (via IVF and a surgical miracle performed by
Dr. Willman) and #2 is due in early November -- a natural
conception supported in the dicey early weeks by Dr. Willman and
her staff. The reason I'm writing is that I DO recommend Dr.
Willman, but also because I think your post revealed a
misconception about what fertility treatment should be. Dr.
Willman will look at your case in a very specific-to-you way. She
will first listen to what you've tried and where you've been with
self-treatment or OBGYN treatment, and then recommend further
tests. If IVF is not indicated based on a combination of your
age/FSH level/results of other hormonal and physical/anatomic
tests (i.e. the hysterosalpingogram) then she'll work with you on
a strategy that doesn't include IVF. However, she's a very
straight shooter, and knows probably as well as any of us the
devestating effects of months and months of unsuccessful
taking/sperm-count-boosting/antibodies & blood-type checking,
etc. has on a couple. I feel sure that if she doesn't think these
things are going to work in your case, and she thinks that IVF
does have a reasonable chance of succeeding, that she'll tell you
just that. I think you need to prepare yourself for that
possibility with any doctor who is your partner in fertility
treatment, and not go into it thinking that if he/she recommends
IVF right away that there's something wrong with the way the
doctor is treating you.
In our case, my infertility was ''unexplained'' (and happily, my
sudden fertility in the case of #2 is also ''unexplained''). Our
indicators were such that Dr. Willman recommended a couple rounds
IUI/Clomid first. Then, we went to injectables with IUI,
presumably to save money, but against her repeated
recommendations based on the clinical outcomes of the previous
cycles. (She was saying our best option was to cut to the chase
with an IVF.) Finally, after the 8th unsuccessful IUI, we took
the advice Dr. Willman had given us after our 3rd IUI, and did
IVF. We had excellent results, 12 viable eggs, 9 viable embryos.
Four were transferred and two took (but one was ectopic -- see
reference above to the surgical miracle performed by Dr.
Willman). Our daughter came after 4 years of increasing
depression and unromantically timed intercourse. I don't know the
specific clinical details of your infertility issues, so IUI's or
other treatment might very well be indicated and successful in
your case. But I can say with confidence that Dr. Willman is
focused on treating individual women/men so that fertilization
and implantation do occur, and supporting them well in early
pregnancy (this is where I experienced her warmth most -- she
truly becomes excited with you!) -- as opposed to being focused
on signing you up for their most expensive and invasive
proceedures. Infertility ...can I say ''sucks'' on this board?...
and many of us want to blame the doctors because there is almost
nobody else to lash out at. But I'd say if you forge what you
feel is an honest relationship with your doctor, you then need to
trust what they're telling you. Warm wishes and best of luck in
your search for a doctor that you feel comfortable with, and the
subsequent course of treatment.
I saw Dr. Willman in San Ramon back in 2001 and found her to be
very knowledge, very warm, caring and gentle. She has the best
bedside manner I have seen in a long time. For unrelated
reasons, I stopped seeing a fertility specialist, but I still
We've been trying for our second child for some time now, and were
just referred to either Dr. Willman or Dr. Chetkowski. I've
checked the recommendations on the website, but since the most
recent were in 2001, I was hoping to get more current information.
Any recommendations for either, positive or negative experiences,
would be greatly appreciated.
I worked with Dr. Willman about 1 1/2 years ago and thought she
was terrific. Her staff is wonderful too. Both Dr. and staff
were very sensitive and extremely thorough. Working with them
made an otherwise difficult experience manageable.
For bedside manner, I can highly recommend Dr. Willman. She was
just affiliating with RSC when we were ending our treatment
there, and I wish we had been seeing her all along. She was on
call for the practice the weekend that our second (and final)
IVF try was cancelled, and she could not have been more
supportive. I have other friends who have used her, and all say
great things. I have recommended Dr. Willman to others, and
would go back to her if treatment was still an option for us.
You won't be disappointed.
I used Dr. Willman to have my 2nd child way back in 1999. I
would highly recommend her. Took her only 2 cycles to help us
get pregnant after 2 years plus with another doctor. Her
treatment was very aggressive which was what we needed at that
time. I read somewhere that she was not the warm and fuzzy type
of doctor, but I had a totally different experience with her! On
our first meeting with her, my husband and I met to talk with her
and liked her immediately. Her office staff was friendly and
helpful with everything, including insurance issues and more
important directions on injections and other meds. When I used
her she practice alone, but now I believe she is with the
Reproductive Science Center, here's the web site:
I think she is the main doctor at the Orinda office. Anyway,
when I finally did get pregnant, she gave me this great big hug!
We were very impressed with that! Oh, she always returns phone
calls herself and you will find that this is very important when
dealing with infertility
If I had to do it over again (and I probably will) I'd go to Dr.
Willman. I met her at a seminar and know several people
who were under her care. I have no way of knowing whether
she would have treated me differently, I just think personality
wise she'd be better fit for me.
Best of luck, I hope number two shows up soon.
I have been a patient of Dr. Willman for over 4 years and was
successful having one child and am now pregnant with my second.
IF treatment is VERY STRESSFUL and there are certainly times that
I am frustrated by her office. Although her practice is in Orinda
( in a small office) all weekend visits are now in San Ramon
since she merged her practice with the large RSC. Dr. Willman is
a very skilled doctor and I would certainly recommend her.
I went to Dr. Wilman to get pregnant with both of our children -
the first using IUI and the second ultimately going to IVF. She
is great -very smart and on top of the latest procedures. She is
aggressive if it is warranted, but is cautious about putting you
at risk for multiples. The entire Infertility process is VERY
stressful,so prepare yourself. You will become frustrated, but
keep reminding yourself that Dr. Wilman is really one of the best
and if you get pregnant it is all worth it. Good luck.
regarding "OB/GYN Dr. and miscarriages" ...
From everything you wrote, it sounds like you'd love Dr. Susan Willman.
She's an infertility doctor, but great in every way you ask. Analytical, very smart, thoroughly discusses alternatives and what they mean, etc.
I'm looking for an RE and I'm trying to decide between Dr Smikle in San
Ramon at the Center for Reproductive Science and Dr Susan Willman's practice
in Orinda. According to Willman's office she only sees people for IVF and
all other work is handled by a nurse practitioner. Smickle comes well
recommended but it is so far to go and I'm thinking I'll have to trek out
there several times (I'm planning to start with drugs and iui). Does anyone
have experience with either of these two practices? Particularly the nurse
practitioner at Willman's or the Center for Reproductive Science in general.
I used Dr, Willman's office and was very happy there. Although I did see the
nurse practitioner a lot, I always saw Dr. Willman's whenever I came in. She
made sure to either stop in to talk with me or to check on any procedure. As
I recall, she also did perform most of these procedures herself (this was last
year and I know she had begun training people to take over for some of this work).
In other words: I found Dr. Willman's to be very accessible. Not only did she answer
all of our questions, but she covered every angle of my medical history extremely
carefully. She is very precise and good at what she does. And her staff is terrific.
I really like everyone who works there from the nurses to the receptionist. Dr. Willman's
hires caring and competent people. That said, she is so uncompromising in her style
( she works like a dog and she makes time for every patient and she is super thorough)
that I know she can be tough to work for. I don't know what her turnover rate has
been, but these women worked super hard and although they were always pleasant to
the patients, I could tell there was some tension and fraying around the edges.
Could be par for the course in this line of work.
In any case, I would recommend Dr. Willman's to you because she will honestly find
the most appropriate treatment for you, and she is conservative and honest. She won't
rush into IVF and she will tell you the hard facts about success rates, drugs and
other treatments. WE worked with her from September to May. We got pregnant twice,
had a miscarriage and I am now due in February. I know this can be really tough. Hang
in there. Best of luck.
I have been a patient of Dr. Willman's for 3.5 years now. I have had a
few IUIs, and then a successful IVF pregnancy. We are now trying for a
second child with IVF. I love Dr. Willman. She is a wonderful person,
very knowledge, very competant doing procedures (I had an IUI with Dr.
Chetkowski, and the contrast was huge.), and open to patient's ideas and
suggestions. Dr. Willman used to basically do all her own work, so my
previous IUIs were with her, and now we are IVF patients, so we usually
see her. I have seen the nurse practitioner, Stephanie, once and she
seemed very good. I trust that Dr. Willman would only hire someone in
whom she had complete confidence. But, for the IUI itself, (as opposed
to just monitoring you while you are on the drugs), maybe you could
request Dr. Willman.
I haven't seen Dr. Smikle, so I can't help you there.
You asked about reproductive endrocrinologist treatment with Dr. Willman. I
saw Dr. Willman a couple of years ago for infertility. There had been
several glowing recommendations on UC Parents which made me choose her. She
is very calm and intelligent, and her office is pleasant. She seems like a
very hard worker, and she took the time to look at my records and make a
treatment plan. However, there were two problems. First, I think she
missed the true cause of my infertility, which was addressed later somewhere
else. Second, she is so busy that it was sometimes difficult to get simple
questions answered, and her front desk assistants didn't convey the messages
clearly, or they made errors - you might be on clomid for example and the
dosage needs to be regulated well, sometimes you really need to be able to
get questions answered fast. I have gotten great care from nurse
practitioners, but I would not like one to have primary responsibility for
my RE workup. So in the balance, I would say there are some very good
reasons to see her but also some reasons to look around. Maybe you could
get clearer on exactly what RE interventions are now being done by her nurse
practitioner. Good luck! Check out the UC parents website for the glowing
I was a patient of Dr. Willman 3 years ago and was not happy with the care
She ordered all the routine tests for infertility. She told me everything
was normal and she decided to perform IUI. After months of taking drugs and
having 3 unsuccessful IUIs, she realized that she has not seen the results
of one of the routine lab tests that she ordered many months before (it
seems that it got lost). She requested a copy from the lab and the results
indicated hormonal problems that she said could be the cause of the
infertility although sometimes there are many causes involved. Therefore,
Dr. Willman carelessly performed 3 totally useless IUIs which implied to
put me on drugs that should not be taken for more than 3 or 4 IUIs attempts
since they eventually could provoke serious illness. I was very
disappointed to see that all the chances for successful IUIs have been
wasted. The inappropriate procedures made me also lose time and money since
I was paying 50% of all the consultation, tests, drugs, (my insurance only
covered 50%) (though Dr. Willman offered to reimburse what I paid in her
office) Finally, Dr. Willman recommended an endocrinologist who gave me a
treatment for the hormonal problem which turned out to be the cause of the
infertility. As soon as the hormones were in balance, I got pregnant
without the need of any other treatment/procedure.
I also want to mention that when I called the office to check for results
of IUIs/tests, they often had to call me back because they could not find
them or find my chart. From this experience, I cannot recommend Dr. Willmam.
Fertility Doctor in the East Bay
Dr. Susan Willman in Orinda was excellent - very nice, smart, competent. She
takes the time to explain and is not put off by your questions. She is also
open to going at your pace, but was frank with her opinion. 925 - 254-0444.
I too recommend Dr. Susan Willman in Orinda. We found her
to be very caring, skilled, and open to any questions or
suggestions from us, which is a great combination in a doctor.
We have seen other fertility doctors before, and have a far
less favorable impression of them, especially when compared
to Dr. Willman. Karen
I highly recommend Dr. Susan Willman. I can't say specifically whether she
specializes in issues around diabetes; I have endometriosis. She performed a
laporoscopy on me and later we ended up having to do an in vitro cycle, which
I shopped around quite a bit and found her exceptional in terms of (a)
knowing the research on all the things we asked her about, (b) communicating
her knowledge clearly, (c) communicating respectfully (e.g. ALWAYS talking in
her office and not in the examination room), (d) giving plenty of time to
answer questions, (e) being open to suggestions, (f) being available. Her
office is in Orinda, 925/254-0444.
I have been to both Dr. Willman and Dr. Chetkowski.
I love Dr. Willman. I felt she was not only very competant,
she was sympathetic and very open to questions and
trying my ideas in addition to hers.
I had several IUIs with Dr. Willman shortly after [my experience with Dr. Chetkowski]. She never
had to dilate me, and the procedures were painless and caused
no bleeding. They were so quick, they were often over before
I knew it. I also did get pregnant with one IUI (though I later
miscarried, and ended up having IVF, which was successful.)
We are now seeing Dr. Willman again, trying to have a second child.
I would also recommend Dr. Willman, she is an absolutely fantastic Doctor.
We found that she always took plenty of time with us and I never felt like
I was doing something I wasn't sure of or was being pushed into something
I didn't feel comfortable with. She is conservative, extremely smart (she
diagnosed a genetic blood disorder that has never been detected before just
by reading my medical history. She sent me to a specialist and now I am
receiving proper medication for it), and she handles all of her own emergency
calls. I was able to get pregnant with Dr. Willman, but unfortunately miscarried
and she performed the D and C (which was a bit complicated due to my blood
disorder) and she did a terrific job. I am now pregnant and due in February.
As for infertility work, I used Dr. Susan Willman (she was in Orinda at the
time and may still be.) She also is very knowledgeable, sensitive,
professional and takes time to connect with the parents. I have the sense
that the rest of the doctors at East Bay are better during pregnancy than
during the awful, uncertain times of infertility work. BTW, Dr. Willman
was the fifth doctor that I went to and the only way that really seemed to
know what she was doing!
I've been seeing Dr. Susan Willman in Orinda. She is a one-doctor office
who specializes in infertility but she is affiliated with the
S.F. Center for Reproductive Medicine, and all surgery is done
there. We'll be doing an in vitro there next month. I like Susan
very much and feel that I'm in very capable hands. I have spent
more time talking to her in her office than in the examining room,
which I think says something about the way the she doctors.
Regarding fertility doctors in the east bay. My OBGYN specifically told me
not to go to the practice that you are going to. We had been with a doctor
in S. F. for almost a year and were at the end of our rope. My Obgyn here,
from Berkeley-Orinda Womens Health suggested Dr. Susan Willman in Orinda -
she was incredible and after more than two years of trying to get pregnant,
she got me pregnant my first cycle with her. I might also add that UC
Care/Prudential insurance covered all of our treatments - drugs, tests,
office visits. I can't recommend her highly enough. Good luck
this page was last updated: Sep 12, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network