Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (San Francisco)
Archived Q&A and Reviews
After two miscarriages and two failed IUIs my husband and I are starting to consider IVF. We did both IUIs at Reproductive Science Center and aren't sure if we should do IVF here or at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. I've been really happy with our care at RSC (Dr. Hinckley is our RE) but think the chances of success at CCRM are great, esp for my age - I'm 38 1/2. I am now seeing an accupunturist and hope that I'll get pregnant without help, but want the best chances of pregnancy if not. For those of you that had success at CCRM, please share your wisdom and for those of you that considered CCRM but didn't end up there, please let me know why you decided against it. We have family in the Denver area, so going to Colorado won't be a hardship in that way. We already have one terrific child and she so wants to be a big sister! Thanks for your help. It is most appreciated. Trying for #2
My wife and I did 3 cycles at RSC without success. They were very pleasant and seemed very competent, but we didn't get pregnant. We went did phone interviews with out-of-state IVF clinics and we were the most impressed with CCRM. We went to Denver last Sept. and everything went better: more eggs harvested, more fertilized, more grew in culture, more went on to blasts at 5 days. They transferred 3 at 5 days, and one took. We now have a wonderful 5 month old! The extra costs were only the plane flights and the extended stay hotel, which didn't add up to that much considering the cost of IVF. I strongly recommend CCRM. I believe the difference is their embryology lab. Look the data for IVF on the CDC website. For ages 38-40, the RSC success rate is about 23% and CCRM 51%. And if anything CCRM has the more challenging patients. Best of luck to you! Happy new Dad
Re: Considering IVF after repeated miscarriage
Hello: I want to recommend CCRM in CO. Their success rates are excellent, and I am now pregnant. One thing that they offer which might be great for you is a type of pre-genetic testing (CGH) that tests all 46 of the chromosomes on 5 day blasts, so you know that you are only transferring normal embryos. The CGH rate for pregnancy is 80% for women of all ages! You might consider doing a phone consult with one of the doctors to see what they think. The downside is that you have to go there for a one day workup and do all of their tests, even ones you may have just done at your local clinic, and of ocurse, you have to be in CO for a couple of weeks, which makes it more expensive. Still, I think it is worth it. Their lab is excellent, and I think that is the big difference, in that they are able to get more 5 days blasts, which increses outcome. If you go to IVFconnections.com and go to IVF in the USA, then Colorado, you will see many threads, including a large one about CGH. Good luck, I know how hard the process is! Anon
I've been trying to conceive for 2 years now and I'm advanced maternal age, with 4 failed IVFs. I heard that the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine has great successes with older women and I would like to hear stories from those who had treatments with them: 1. Was it IVF or IUI? What age group, did it succeed? 2. What are the challenges in doing IVF treatment from out of state? I see it's going to be alot more emotional strain and stress in having to travel to Colorado for treatment, and having to take excessive time off from work, not to mention the financial strain 3. What is special about CCRM that will increase the success rate?
Thanks in advance for sharing information from those who had traveled from CA to CO for CCRM's services and how they did it. Desperate Wanting to be Mom
I was in your situation several years ago and finally went to CCRM because of their success rates. CCRM has an assembly-line practice (prepare yourself for crowded waiting rooms) compared to the nurturing small practice I adored here, but CCRM has great success across the board.
Schoolcraft was honest up front that the clinic's success with older women is due to the use of donor eggs. My case included. I probably would have had the same success in the Bay Area with donor eggs, but thought if there is something special about CCRM's lab techniques, I didn't want to miss out on it.
To answer your questions:
1) We used ICSI with a donor egg. I was 42. It was successful the first time around at CCRM. The donor was 21.
2) I am lucky to have stayed with friends in Denver, one of whom is a doctor and could give me the IM injections. However, I think CCRM staff are available to do injections for out-of-towners, too. (By the way, those same friends are the ones who recommended CCRM because of all the successful ''Schoolcraft'' families they know. They're included in that group - also using donor eggs after 1 failed IVF with CCRM.) I'm also lucky that my work is pretty portable, so I could take it with me to Denver.
3) What's special about CCRM? Good question. I never figured it out. They follow the same protocols, are just as cautious about not hyper-stimulating egg production, and as conservative about the number of embryos transferred as the fertility specialist I used here (who was a friend of Schoolcraft and also couldn't explain the difference). Unlike here, CCRM gave me a valium after the embryo transfer, which knocked me out for the rest of the day. (With all my IVF attempts here, I typically worked quietly at home the rest of the day instead of sleeping.)
Some say their success may be due to selectively accepting patients, but none of the CCRM patients I've met know anyone who was turned away. I know 3 of them well; all were 40+. Two tried IVF with their own eggs first, then were convinced to go the donor route (and succeeded).
I didn't find CCRM nurses particularly nurturing, unlike those I dealt with here, who were extremely nurturing and sympathetic. That's probably due to the assembly-line nature of the practice. Don't expect a lot of hand holding (though things might have changed since I was there)if you decide to go with CCRM.
If you take my route and decide to use donated eggs -- I was astonished at how quickly they had a donor available whose academic, vocational, and avocational interests and personality traits matched mine so closely. CCRM aggressively advertises in all media outlets in the Denver area but has a good screening process; I really liked their staff psychologist. It took me a LONG time to get comfortable with the idea of using donated eggs, but it quickly became a non-issue. My only regret is that, unlike the clinic I went to here, CCRM didn't require that donors express a willingness to be contacted when the child reaches majority age. -- A Happy Mom
I had great success at CCRM using my own eggs when I was 41, and now have a healthy child. I had previously lost five pregnancies and decided to try IVF as a last resort. We chose CCRM since they are known for being one of the best IVF clinics in the country and we were only going to try IVF once (given the expense).
We've heard one of the reasons CCRM is so successful is their embryologists are so good. I found the staff to be very thorough and professional.
Since I haven't done a local IVF I can't compare the experience, but we treated it like a two-week summer vacation. (No one quite understood why we were ''vacationing'' in Colorado...) Try ivfconnections.net and you'll find a CCRM board with lots of info on cycling out of state.
Good luck. Another happy Mom
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.
This may sound drastic, but as someone who has been there, I would recommend you at least have a consult with CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine), which is regarded by most to be one of the best reproductive clinics in the world.
Many people, myself included, ended up there after going through the long, painful and expensive route of failures in the hands of my ob/gyn and then local fertility specialist (UCSF) By no means do I mean to imply that all local fertility clinics fail, as I know lots of people who have success through local clinics and they can be the right answer depending on your situation. But for the tougher cases, CCRM has been able to succeed on lots of patients who fail at other places. (people fly to them from all over the world) So I give the advice to my friends to consider it in the first place, just in case you are a ''tougher case'', as the only way to find out is through painful failure. It is more of a coordination hassle, and somewhat more expensive per ''try'', but we are lucky enough to be only a 2 hour flight away with discount carriers flying there. And since such a high percentage of their patients are from out of state they have the out of town protocol down.
I know it sounds drastic to go out of state right away, but I wish I had known about it before going the more traditional route. I ended up with 2 years of failed IUIs, IVFs, 2 miscarriages, and lots of unnecessary hormones pumped into my body. When I went to CCRM they immediately caught an issue that UCSF had missed, fixed it with an outpatient surgery, and I got and stayed pregnany my next cycle (who is now my 8 month old daughter).
Its not for everyone, but at least you'll know the option is out there. The first step is they set up a phone consult with you after you send them all your fertility medical records. I think it is ~$250 and you get an hour with the DR on the phone where he goes over what he suspects may be the issue, what his plan would be, and answers as many questions as you like.
Best of luck to you. Feel free to email me if you want to discuss further. Julie
Re: Infertility over 44
Chances of live birth with fetus conceived of own eggs at 44 are 3% even with IVF. If you really really really want and are willing to spend time and money for a biological child, nowhere in the country can touch the outcomes of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. Try the polar body biopsy with day three transfer method. It worked for me at 44 and my friend at 43, 100% of our little sample. Anywhere else would have killed the fragile old-lady embryos. I had tried with DH on our own 10 times with ovulation test kits, timing, herbs, acupuncture, etc., foolishly wasting precious time. Even CCRM probably can't help at 45... Voice of reason and experience, MD
Re: Infertility in our 40's
We have suffered from infertility as well, and are very fortunate to have delivered our first daughter when I (female) was 41 and will deliver our second child when I will be 44. One of the only places in the country with any fertility success with women in their 40's is the Colorado Center for Reproductive medicine. A telephone consultation (one hour) with them is $250. Schedule it today.
If you think I'm exaggerating, let me just say that the national average live birth rates for 44-year-old women undergoing IVF with their own eggs for fresh cycles is 3.3%, but at CCRM it is 16.5%, and no other center in the country can approach that. (These are 2006 statistics, which will be published in the next couple of months on SART.ORG) Childless till CCRM
Best fertility clinic in the Bay area is actually in a Denver, Colorado suburb called Englewood. It's called The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. They are the best in the country. I'm currently pregnant at age 44 from a cycle there with my own eggs. Almost any other IVF lab in the country would have killed my embryos at this age, but on day three they were all 8-cell grade 4 or 4- (4 is best at CCRM). They also tested the eggs' polar bodies so they could discard genetically abnormal embryos (aneuploidy), thereby decreasing my potential miscarriage rate.
The way to become their patient is: 1) schedule a 1-hour telephone consultation ($250) 2) fly to Denver for your one-day workup, in which they will repeat all testing including hysteroscopy and sperm analysis 3) cycle with local monitoring until you fly to Denver for 4-14 days, depending on the protocol. You can see all the clinic outcomes on www.sart.org or get them as a downloadable excel spreadsheet from http://www.cdc.gov/art/
This may not show up niceley in the BPN newsletter but I took the excel spreadsheet, deleted all the clinics except California and CCRM (I had previously figured out CCRM was the best), deleted non-Bay Area clinics, deleted clinics that were too small to have any statistically significant results, and sorted the outcomes by the live birth rate for the youngest patients (see key at the bottom). The youngest are the easiest to get right.
good luck! A tough case, I wouldn't go anywhere else
We were so underwhelmed with PFC (Pacific Fertility Center) and their statistics ''less than 8% chance'' of a pregnancy that we also traveled to Colorado for our first IVF and had the best experience possible. Dr. Schoolcraft is the very best! Finally a Mother at 42
Re: Fertility at 38.5
I understand your fear, going from a normal FSH into the borderline zone. Time is of the essence now.
You will hear many heresay opinions about RE's and how to select an RE, but the only verifiable way is by their outcome statistics.
Checking the SART or CDC websites for outcomes and comparing very carefully (I printed them out and went over them carefully side by side) can help prevent hiring an RE who is sloppy because their outcomes will not be good.
Look up the RE's stats on www.SART.org and compare their outcomes with The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine in Englewood Colorado (Denver suburb), ''CCRM''.
It's hard to say this delicately, but California doesn't really have any earth-shatteringly great RE's. Look at the confidence intervals for live births for your age and the next older age group, and always compare to CCRM. If there is no confidence interval and outcomes are expressed as fractions, they are not statistically significant.
After two frustrating cycles with one of the ''two best'' RE's in the area, I switched to CCRM, and achieved pregnancy. They have over 40% out of town patients who failed elsewhere, and still have by far the most successful outcomes in the country. Even just the phone consultation could be enormously helpful for you. They accept women with borderline and high FSH.
Here are the steps:
1) call and get appt for 1-hour telephone consultation with the next MD available.
2) send your entire fertility medical record, nicely organized, with tabs and an index, in a a little binder
3) one hour phone consultation is $200 or $250. They will evaluate all your results to date, the outcomes of what you have tried, etc., and give some preliminary advice
4) One day workup: fly to Denver in the evening, spend one night in a cheap Hotwire hotel for $29, and spend the next day from 8am to 3pm at CCRM for full testing and re-testing of everything. It's like the Mayo Clinic of fertility clinics. They even do a hysteroscopy that day, and the doctor meets with you last, to summarize everything and set a preliminary plan.
5) protocol is chosen and cycle begins. Start meds in Bay Area, first ultrasound monitoring in Bay Area, then fly to Denver for 4-14 days depending on your plan.
They have remarkable results, whatever they say, I would trust.
As for alternative, etc., ask CCRM which alternative interventions have statistical evidence to help. The only ones they advocate are acupuncture if uterine blood flow is low, and pre- and post- embryo transfer acupuncture.
I went through 1 IUI and 2 IVF's locally before I finally went the extra mile to the best in the country. I wish you all the best and please feel free to write. Lay fertility expert, former Resolve leader
I want to second the person who recommended CCRM (Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine) for older women. We were also undecided what to do and where to go and thought of many local centers, some who have very loyal patients - who never get pregnant! For older women, if you want to succeed, CCRM is the place, the numbers are clear. The centers in the BayArea, no matter how prestigious Stanford or UCSF sounds, they don't have the success rates at your age group that can compete.
The other post gave a great summary of steps involved, I would only add that you can choose who your dr is at CCRM, Dr Schoolcraft is the primary Dr but he's very quiet, I'd recommend Dr Surrey - he's very friendly and nice and I found easier to talk with, you end up seeing all of them but for the consultation, I'd recommend Dr Surry.
It seems like a big deal to do it in Colorado, but it's not. We'd fly Frontier Airlines and stay at the TownPlace Suites by Marriott for $49 per night (this was 3 years ago) - their studio suites have a full kitchen so you don't have to eat out and the rooms are nicer than the regular Marriott hotel down the street.
Another bit of advice - look up www.ivfconnections.net - go to ALL BULLETIN BOARDS - there is more info on their forums than anywhere else on getting pregnant, not just on IVFs. anon
I originally posted about CCRM and a follow-up post mentioned Dr. Surrey. I would unequivocally use him as my RE for my next cycle at CCRM. He has Dr. Schoolcraft's clarity and incisiveness without his testiness. Dr. Minjarez is very smart and loving but makes things more complicated than they have to be. Dr. Surrey will pick the most streamlined protocol that will actually work to get you pregnant, AND he's smart, nice, and funny, and he's at the main office. He's perfect.
You'll also see how your chances of a live birth fall like a stone over 35, so time is of the essence, but you can do this! I'm afraid I'll have to suggest you ignore advice from people who got pregnant on their own and don't know a thing about rising FSH levels. You haven't been pregnant at all after 18 months of trying, even with Clomid. It's time to get advice from the best RE's in the country. Going to Colorado will save you time, money, and heartache in the end.
CCRM is the best in the country. Shown below are live birth rates for women age 38-40 years for 2004 (the latest year with a downloadable spreadsheet to play with the data). Centers are listed in order of decreasing outcomes for age 35 (not shown). Character limits prevented me from showing confidence intervals, which are more important and even more persuasive.
COLORADO CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE ENGLEWOOD COLORADO 41.9 ADVANCED FERTILITY ASSOCIATES MEDICAL GROUP GREENBRAE CALIFORNIA 23.2 UCSF CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA 33.3 ZOUVES FERTILITY CENTER DALY CITY CALIFORNIA 22.9 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA FERTILITY MEDICAL CENTER ROSEVILLE CALIFORNIA 21.6 REPRODUCTIVE SCIENCE CENTER OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA SAN RAMON CALIFORNIA 22.7 STANFORD UNIVERSITY IVF/ART PROGRAMPALO ALTO CALIFORNIA 13.2 FERTILITY PHYSICIANS OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIASAN JOSE CALIFORNIA 16.2 PACIFIC FERTILITY CENTERSAN FRANCISCOCALIFORNIA 25.8
If this data comes out garbled in the newsletter, you can look it up for yourself on www.sart.org or download an excel spreadsheet to play with from http://www.cdc.gov/art/ Then you can also see the ''live birth confidence interval.''
Once you've had your consultation with Dr. Surrey, do whatever alternative stuff you want, except herbs. Herbs are real drugs and interfere with the medications, AND with China's pollution levels, more and more often are found to be contaminated. --Former Resolve group leader, pregnant at 44 with own eggs at CCRM