How was your experience with Edward Marut?
Dr. Marut seemed kind and knowledgable, but our time with him was very short. We saw him for 5-10 minutes at our initial consultation and 5-10 minutes in a follow up visit to discuss a treatment plan. I completed two rounds of IUI that resulted in negative pregnancy tests. Dr. Marut did not perform the IUI nor did I see him during the course of those treatments. We had another follow up visit with Dr. Marut, at which point we decided to do IVF. I did not see him again during the course of embryo retrieval, transfer or any portion of the IVF cycle. Fortunately, our 1st round of IVF resulted in pregnancy.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Edward Marut?
Know that you will be treated by nurses and staff, and not have regular access to or contact with Dr. Marut. His nurse Donna can be difficult to communicate with as she does not seem to accept questions about your treatment very well.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Typically at FCI, you are called from the waiting room in groups. Each patient gathers by the nurse and the rest of the group is called. You move to the ultrasound waiting room as a herd, which as a patient made me feel like a number rather than someone there for individualized care.
Describe the protocols Edward Marut used in your cycles and their degree of success.
We completed two rounds of IUI (Letrozole + ovulation trigger), followed by 1 month on the pill then IVF the following month. I was pleased that after two unsuccessful rounds of IUI, Dr. Marut did listen to our request to move on to IVF, and agreed that that would be the recommended treatment plan. At this point we had been trying to conceive for nearly two years and were interested in expediting the process.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Donna was friendly and somewhat compassionate, but I found she was difficult to communicate with. She did not seem open to questions about your treatment and got defensive when I started asking questions about my bloodwork and ultrasound test results prior to IUI. I wanted to be as informed as possible, and asking questions about my LH levels and timing of IUI ruffled her feathers.
Describe your experience with Fertility Centers of Illinois.
FCI will likely deliver on what you've asked of them - getting you pregnant. However, know that this clinic is a factory. While you will receive good treatment, you will also feel like a number. You will not have access to your doctor outside of the office consultation visits with them. The nursing staff performs all IUI's and the "doctor on call" (who is not one of the physicians listed in the group practice and therefore someone you've never met), will perform your IVF embryo retrieval and transfer. Prior to my embryo transfer, patient instructions were not clear and it was extremely difficult to reach anyone in the clinic. I remember calling 5-10 times and getting transferred to empty voicemail boxes or staff hanging up on me. On the whole, I found that they treat their patients as if they have been through the process (IUI or IVF) before, which leaves you uninformed. To me, it seemed as though they needed to expand their staff to be able to adequately handle the high number of patients. All of this being said, my first consultation was in June 2015, we tried IUI in July and August (unsuccessful), and I was pregnant via IVF by October 2015. Dr. Marut did attend my first ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and was very compassionate when answering my call with an emergency the evening before.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Edward Marut.
Unfortunately, despite my Illinois residency, I was not eligible for the IL state mandated fertility coverage because my employer-based insurance was out of state (BCBS of Minnesota). Therefore, the financial aspect of my care was extremely stressful. Luckily, my insurance did cover fertility treatment, but only up to $15,000 during my lifetime across any insurance plans with my employer. Following my first consultation, the billing specialist printed out the explanation of coverage and stated "this is very bad." Not exactly reassuring words as we embarked on this journey. What this broke down to was all of my labs, ultrasounds, IUI meds and IUI procedures were covered by insurance. When the time came for IVF, I had $12,500 remaining in my insurance coverage. The financial consultant at FCI and my specialty pharmacy instructed that my meds would bill approximately $8,700 to insurance and the IVF procedures could bill anywhere around $5,000. Therefore, my $12,500 would not cover the whole IVF round. They did help me get creative and instructed to purchase my injectable meds out of pocket through a self-pay pharmacy, Freedom Fertility Pharmacy. They provide discounts to those paying out of pocket for medication. I ended up spending $2,050 out of pocket on 4 of the medications, and billed $1500 worth of meds to insurance. I chose this route to purchase the least expensive meds via out of pocket means, and the ones that were the priciest out of pocket but not to outrageous when billed to insurance. The total amount billed to insurance for the IVF procedures was about $4,000. I also paid $1,200 for embryo cryopreservation (not covered by my insurance) and will continue to pay out of pocket annually for embryo storage. While I did benefit from most of the cost being covered by insurance and a successful pregnancy, I was a little frustrated by a couple things. 1) I ended up with remaining insurance coverage, so while I could have billed more of the meds cost to insurance, I suppose it's good to have remaining coverage for next time (we have 4 good embryos frozen for this purpose) 2) I ended up with way more medication than needed. FCI instructed to order a 20-day supply of injectables, while I only ended up taking them for 9 days. Plenty of unused leftover meds, which I will likely donate to a friend or clinic, if the expiration date doesn't allow me to save for future rounds if needed.
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Provided conflicting information