After our consult with CCRM, I wrote an email to my doctor and cced my nurse coordinator. The email informed Dr. M that we got a second opinion which brought up some questions that we'd like to discuss with him. Immediately, I received an out of office reply that he won't be in until next week. About 15 minutes later, I got a call from SC - our IVF nurse coordinator.
Have I mentioned that I love this woman? She has been way more than just a nurse coordinator to me over the last few months. She's been an advocate, a trusted friend and a bright light at the clinic. Several years ago, my friend MTC went to our clinic and recommended SC to me. I'm so glad she did. We are grateful to have her in our corner.
I told SC about our call with Dr. S and she understood our concerns. She scheduled an appointment for A and I to chat with Dr. M and get his perspective on the additional testing and protocol that Dr. S suggested. But here is the kicker. She said that she is going to tell Dr. M that she'd like to sit in on our meeting if it's okay with me. She is interested in hearing more about the beta antegrin. SC has heard of it and trusts that Dr. M is up to date on all of the same studies. She probably has a million other things to do. But that is just her....she wants to be a resource for her patients and be as knowledgable as possible.
She also reminded me to listen to my gut. I needed to hear this. She always knows what I need to hear. That being said, I am fairly certain that I'm going to push for a protocol without BCPs. A also wants to ask about CCRM's numbers. He thinks that science and technology is what it is and he doesn't think CCRM's stats can really be that much better than our clinic.
Even if the stats are right. We've already paid for our cycle at our local clinic. We believe our clinic is the best in our area. We believe we're getting good care. We are glad we got more information and fresh perspective from CCRM. But now we just have to continue to have faith and give this one more go.
The post above was written late Wednesday night - a few hours after our second opinion consult. Before I had a chance to read all of your comments. Before I had time to think it through. Before I had time to speak to my closest friends and my mom. Since hubby is gone, I haven't discussed anything with him. But here is where I am at the moment.
Everything above is based on emotion. I love my IVF nurse coordinator. It hurts to think of forking out more money to go to CCRM. We've already started down this path with our local clinic so it would be easier to stay the course. Traveling to Denver adds a whole new level of complexity to an already difficult situation.
But my head is telling me that I can't ignore those numbers. If A and I agreed that we are going to try IVF only once and give it our best shot. Isn't our best shot at CCRM? I've always said that I don't want to have any regrets. I'm afraid that I would have regrets if we stayed at our local clinic and our one and only cycle failed. I might feel differently if we were able and willing to try the local clinic and then if it fails...go to CCRM for cycle number two. But there won't be a cycle number two for us. So making this decision is so utterly important...the future life of my child could be hanging in the balance.
That being said, I need to know two things.
1. How much more would we have to pay to switch clinics and go to CCRM now?
2. Are CCRM's success rate numbers legit?
Our local clinic
Cycle fee including ICSI - $12,550
Genetic Testing (outsourced to Natera) - $3,700
Meds - $3,500
TOTAL - $19,750
One day work up - $4,500
Cycle fee with ICSI - $16,110
Genetic testing (in-house) - $6,875
Meds - $3,500
TOTAL - $30,985
I'm estimating a conservative travel budget of $3,000 (4 flights + 10 nights in hotel) and we'd lose about $1,000 in our prepaid cycle fee at our clinic for a cancellation fee and services rendered prior to my cancellation. So we are looking at an additional $15,235 to jump ship right now.
(As I type this, I'm pissed off that our insurance doesn't cover IVF. It is bull sh&t! Infertility is in the same category as breast augmentations. Seriously?!? Last time I checked, I have a legitimate medical condition preventing my body from functioning properly and allowing me to conceive a child as it was meant to. Yah, not that same as wanting a big rack. Just sayin'.)
2. The stats. (*All stats below are reported from Center for Disease Control - 2010 SART report.)
Paying the additional money (if we can come up with it) only makes sense if CCRM is really going to give me 38% higher odds of success.
A friend said this to me last night. If I stay at my clinic, a live birth is possible at 26.5% and if I switch to CCRM a live birth is probable at 65.1%. Do I want possible or probable?
But the saying comes to mind...if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Is believing in CCRM's 65% live birth success rate like believing in magic and unicorns?
Here are the 2010 success rate stats for the rest of the Cali clinics in my age group which I feel like I should reconsider. These clinics are comparable to my clinic and CCRM in terms of volume. The clinics in black that have the higher numbers are in Southern California so they'd require hotel and airfare just like CCRM. The ones in green are driving distance. But don't have significantly higher results than our clinic to be worth the trouble of commuting.
Beverly Hills - 82 fresh cycles - 36.6% live births
Kaiser Fremont - 125 fresh cycles - 39% live births
UCSD La Jolla - 105 fresh cycles - 49.5% live births
Stanford - 125 fresh cycles - 19.4% live births
Redondo Beach - 104 fresh cycles - 39.4% live births
Pacific San Francisco - 128 fresh cycles - 18.8% live births
UCSF San Francisco - 129 fresh cycles - 36.4% live births
FPNC San Jose - 81 fresh cycles - 25.9% live births
San Ramon - 150 fresh cycles - 31.3% live births
PRC Torrance - 83 fresh cycles- 41% live births
Back to CCRM...I've seen threads on infertility forums claiming that CCRM only accepts "easy" cases so their numbers are skewed. But others have said that is not true. Intuitively, it doesn't seem true as I know some bloggers with tough cases that have been treated at CCRM. But how can they really be that much better than everyone else? How do I find out if these numbers are real? What does CCRM do differently that yields such better results? This is what I'm grappling with at the moment.
If you have done your homework on CCRM and their stats, please leave your findings in the comments. I'm clearly so conflicted and would appreciate your help.
P.S. If you're still reading this, you're either a saint or a fellow infertile. Anyhow, thanks for sticking with me.