Describe your experience with USF IVF and Reproductive Endocrinology.
I can't think of many strengths, except that you would think that the USF affiliation would mean good things. But alas, it does not with this clinic.
I almost did not want to write this review because some would see it as "sour grapes" since we did not receive a positive pregnancy. But upon 8 months of reflection after the fact, I realized I wish I had read reviews of the clinic before I gave them $20K+ of my money. So I'm hoping this helps somebody else make an informed decision.
Even if we'd received a positive pregnancy here, I would not rate it well. It was a terrible experience all around.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
My husband and I had a very specific and unique story and it's as if they never heard our story. Every visit, I had to remind whomever saw us. It was NEVER the same person and our standard of care and our protocol was not tailored to our specific circumstances, it was based only on numbers and what may or may not have worked for the "general population." Nobody even remembered my name from visit to visit. And we NEVER saw Dr. Mayer, our primary IVF doctor.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
You NEVER receive a call or a visit from the same nurse. They are incredibly disorganized, they rarely call back or return phone calls and only one or two of them are slightly friendly. I felt very little empathy or compassion from any of them. Not surprising, the entire clinic staff is COLD. If you can't be friendly, can you at least fake it? Nope, not there.
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Lost appointments
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to send your chart to another clinic
- Failed to convey critical information
How was your experience with James Mayer?
We chose USF IVF (South Tampa) because our sperm was frozen there and we had no idea what we were in for! Dr. Mayer was supposedly our primary care doctor, but we only saw him during our initial visit to sign up AND PAY FOR our IVF cycle. We literally never saw him again. I get that it's a teaching hospital, but there really should be some sort of consistency whereby the patient feels like their primary doctor is in-the-know. Dr. Mayer is very hard to understand and is not very good at explaining the IVF process. He claims to have told you something when he never did. Maybe he told somebody (another patient), but not me. We saw other doctors including Dr. Plosker, the department head, and he was equally as terrible. He didn't even know my name when he entered the room. He certainly didn't know our story - my husband had cancer and due to the chemo and radiation, his sperm count is now at zero. It's like nobody ever wrote that in our chart and I had to remind every person why we were there. As if having cancer and going through infertility in back to back years isn't enough!
The only doctor that remembered or acted like he cared was Dr. Imudia, but we only saw him once. You never get the same nurse or doctor and they always act like you are a burden when you call with a question. That's IF you ever get a call back. They are either TERRIBLY UNDERSTAFFED or TERRIBLY UNORGANIZED AND INEFFICIENT - or both.
We only had a certain amount of frozen sperm (5 total vials, that is all we had on earth and that is all we would ever have due to the cancer) and we were given HORRIBLE advice by Dr. Mayer to use 3 of those 5 precious vials for IUI's. I've been told now by two other infertility clinics that we never should have "wasted" these precious vials on IUI because we had such a limited supply and it wasn't worth the risk.
So after we wasted 3 of our 5 vials on failed IUI's, we should have bailed on this clinic, but we still didn't know better. We did an IVF cycle with them and only retrieved 6 eggs after my egg retrieval. AFter that retrieval, we SHOULD HAVE BEEN ASKED if we wanted to thaw a vial of frozen sperm and still proceed (since we got so few eggs), but they didn't give us that advice. They used the sperm, only 2 embryos were created and neither tested normal after genetic testing.
Crappy results we could handle, but come to find out (if we only knew then what we know now), they could have saved the remainder of the sperm for that vial and it could have been re-frozen. It was something like 14 million sperm and they only used a couple - the rest can be re-frozen for future use!!! We HAD NO CLUE this was an option and it was NEVER PRESENTED TO US. So they threw the remainder of the sperm away - KNOWING we only had one more vial on earth to work with. SO INCREDIBLY CARELESS - and our second IVF clinic, the one we're currently at, can not believe we were not told that sperm can be re-frozen and used over again.
They knew my husband had cancer, they knew he was not producing any more sperm, they KNEW we only had one vial left and they didn't care to tell us how to save the remainder of what could have been saved from our 4th vial. They just threw it out!!!!
So, we were left with one vial out of 5 and we quickly decided we would never trust them with our final vial and we got it the HECK out of their freezers and across the state to an IVF clinic in Jacksonville.
They also didn't make it easy for us to retrieve our final vial of sperm, it was also a pain in the butt process, but we got it done and out of there.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of James Mayer?
Do not use USF IVF.
Describe the protocols James Mayer used in your cycles and their degree of success.
Dr. Mayer followed a standard protocol with us, we were not seen as an individual case, but a number. We told them over and over we only had a limited amount of frozen sperm to work with and each time we were there, it's like nobody remembered this. When our cycle failed and we asked him what he would do differently, he told me "you need new ovaries." WOW. I have no known fertility issues, our only issue is the fact that my husband's sperm count was wiped out because of his cancer treatment. He was referring to the fact that more eggs may have produced better results since it's simply a numbers game, but he literally has no bedside manner when speaking to patients. New ovaries? Nope, how about a new doctor. One that cares, yes, that's what we needed - somebody that cares - or at least can act like they do!
We needed a doctor that looked at our specific circumstances and offered proactive advice based on our personal case, not based on numbers. For example, knowing only 6 eggs were retrieved and knowing full well it's a numbers game (the more eggs you get, the higher your chances are of getting normal embryos), they should have: 1) given us the option of whether we wanted to proceed with thawing a vial and doing ICSI on the 6 eggs, 2) advised us about our odds with only 6 eggs, 3) recommended either freezing the eggs and doing another cycle to increase our odds, or 4) TOLD US WE COULD RE-FREEZE the remaining sperm from the thawed vial so that we had more chances should we need them in the future!
Nope, none of that was offered or advised. If ONLY we knew then what we know now! But we weren't the experts, we trusted them to be the experts and give us the best advice for our specific circumstances and they failed over and over at that.
In total, they wasted 4 out of 5 vials of the only sperm we had left to create a baby.
Describe the costs associated with your care under James Mayer.
$18K for IVF, $2K for IUI