Describe your experience with Columbia University.
The experience was a nightmare, and my treatment was unsuccessful. The set protocols made everything easier for the clinic/doctors but weren't successful for me and often left me with negative side effects for several extra days before my procedures. I could barely get a callback, and the clinical staff don't use email. Even though the clinic claimed to have a lot of experience with same-sex couples, they often had to make up the process along the way. Because they didn't have updated consent forms for same-sex couples, we had to solicit external legal council and advocate for changes to the forms in order to protect of our parental rights. The lead social worker was also highly unprofessional and shared obvious details about the identity of famous patients.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
After each failed cycle, Dr. McConnell just recommended the same protocol without additional testing. I'm not sure if it's Dr. McConnell's preference or the clinic's, but she doesn't individualize or alter a protocol even when it fails or the patient has an adverse reaction. The oral estrace that they use for FET cycles made me very sick, but she refused to let me do another FET protocol or consider one of the many alternatives forms of estrogen.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The only slight positive was that the support staff including the nurses were very kind. That said, I was frequently given misinformation and strange instructions by the nurses, who seemed overwhelmed and unorganized. One told me to avoid yoga/light exercise even before my frozen transfer because it would bounce my uterus!
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Lost appointments
- Failed to call with results
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
- Failed to consider drug intolerance
How was your experience with Rachel McConnell?
I had a horrible experience with Dr. McConnell. She regularly failed to explain procedures or recommendations and lied to me. Dr. McConnell said that one couldn't stop birth control pills mid-pack--apparently, it was easier to lie than share her reason for wanting me to continue the medication. She also made an error during an exam and said my uterus was retroverted; it's not and she had done ultrasounds on me previously. Most significantly, I went through with a surgery that Dr. McConnell recommended for me, and unfortunately she failed to mention that it could have a significant negative impact on my ovarian reserve. She also did not help get me an appointment with a surgeon.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Rachel McConnell?
Go elsewhere if possible. Otherwise, advocate heavily for yourself: push for answers, follow up repeatedly, and make sure you stay on top of every detail of your care.
Describe the protocols Rachel McConnell used in your cycles and their degree of success.
unsuccessful medicated FETs with the same standard protocol each time (estrace, antagonist, progesterone suppositories, low dose medrol before transfer)
Describe the costs associated with your care under Rachel McConnell.
They tried to have us pay out of pocket rather than use our insurance benefits. Luckily, insurance covered treatment. However, they routinely tried to bill me for covered procedures or at higher prices than I was told in advance. Sorting it out was almost impossible.