Sorry for the delay – this has been really hard to write. Plus I could not find the forum/thread on which to post. I cannot make out which is the last post to a thread or if you repost to a closed thread. I am a bit of a reader not poster. I was asked to detail what happened to me at CFC. I can see some good results and I am so happy for those of you who did/have.
OK here are a few examples about the problems I had with CFC.
I like the anonymity of a forum as I cannot tell my friends about this (I am very private). My best friend does not agree with IVF let alone donor eggs so I only have my partner to talk to. This is a private thing.
I have had an unsuccessful E transfer at CFC. I used a Dr that none of you have mentioned. On the whole, a nice person who I believe means well, but .........
My transfer was horrifically painful and I was in absolute agony (I have had 7 or so transfers in my local clinic, so far and all were fine). I have a high pain threshold yet I was cranked open wider than I can go and my cervix was cut and bleeding. I felt violated and abused, the pain searing though me was so bad I was screaming (and I am quite a stoic person). It went on for ages as they left me cranked open whist a nurse opened the door to the corridor (hey anyone passing could have good view!) She went to get a BIGGER speculum. I felt violated and abused. The Dr kept muttering ‘do no harm’, she harmed me both physically and emotionally. I could not stop crying for weeks.
I was left really badly bruised, it took weeks to heal. I could not sit down properly and going to the loo was excruciating. I am traumatised by it all. The nurse was talking to me like I was 6yrs old and my partner patting me like I was a dog, not knowing what to do.
I was told the painful transfer was my fault as I was titled inside.
I was told what I went through was ‘not the norm’. It’s a transfer not retrieval and it was worse!! I still have flashbacks, I still wake up in a sweat and I still cannot forget the agony. I think of it every day and cannot get it out of my head. I feel like I have been attacked/abused. I haven’t been able to work since and when I think of it I twitch and I think of it almost constantly, I cannot get it out of my head. We no longer have a sex life.
I feel so horrifically badly for the amazing girl who was my donor, if that is what I went through, what trauma and pain did she suffer? I have to admit I have lost sleep over that question. I feel such guilt about what she must have gone though as it must surely have been worse than my experience.
Dr said if I go back that they would do a FET under a GENERAL anaesthetic – but I have a medical issue that means I cannot have one. I did not even have a general for the egg retrievals at the other clinic. CFC had this information but still felt that would be a good idea. This does not make sense as it could kill me. This is more about the Dr than me.
Usually at a transfer you have to identify yourself and they identify the embryos to you – then you sign something. I had none of that. I was also called by the wrong name in the process which was disconcerting. I did see 2 dots (literally dots) on the screen and that was it – no identification procedure. I was told my experience was ‘not the norm’.
I was not given details of the process in relation what the drugs do etc. The listings tell you what to take and when, nothing about what the drug is and what it is for. I had no idea that my ovaries would be shut down, as that does carry risks.
Remember some of the drugs are from dead guinea pigs etc and you will no longer be able to donate blood or bone marrow due to some of the drugs you are given as the donor service think it is ‘too risky’. I was turned away from the donor service, very embarrassing.
I was not informed how many embryos were frozen and what grade they were – I had to chase and chase. I was told this is ‘not the norm’. Their live thaw out rate for embryos, according to an email from them, is only about 43 %. This does appear below average.
I did not get a response to blood test results after the 2week wait. However I am not stupid so know it was negative – also I have read that a traumatic transfer is highly unlikely to produce a BFP, I did not expect a positive result. However I had had positive HPT during that time so needed to know if it had been a yes then a no. I got the answer some months later when I chased. They said no.
I am still, a year later in pain with the injection sites – they do not care about that – that too is not the norm.
I sent an email with several questions and I was ignored for weeks and weeks. I chased. One of my questions was if the Dr could learn to do the transfer painlessly but I was not answered for 2 months, I chased and another month passed. I have embryos there so I am stuck. My questions about learning to do it (along with other questions) have still not been answered properly and I cannot ‘suck it and see’ in this situation. I am told that is not the norm (a phrase that I seem to hear a lot!). Asking questions about ability does not go down well with Drs, who do not want to talk to me now. I asked to call them at a good time but was told I could not call, only email. I no longer trust them, so have to ask and ask and ask to get questions answered as I really need to have the full information before I can think about going back, but that is proving difficult. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt but they have not admitted to anything nor offered any explanations nor have I had an apology for this whole sorry saga! – After all it was all my fault it seems.
If their processes are not working I have no idea if they have changed them or even looked into them. They have really disappointed me. I would happily go back again to SA, so I will need to find a different clinic. The co-ordinator was wonderful and really pleasant and helpful but she struggled to get the Dr to respond who then decided not to respond to me again. I had been very polite in my questioning but the Dr was obviously angry.
If things go wrong and you ask too many questions it does not seem to go down too well. I need information and I do my research before I jump. (So much so that I came across the on line dating profile of one of the CFC Drs.). No one is perfect and mistakes are made but no one will admit to them. I am truly sacred about having another transfer and I have had LOADS – and all bar this one were absolutely fine.
As I have had all these incidents which are labelled ‘not the norm’ I would advise caution using this clinic. If it was one, ‘not the norm’ and I had had a response from the Dr that sounded as if they truly cared and things had changed, then fair enough but it has been a constant string of ‘not the norm’. Am I the unluckiest person in the world?
You pay top dollar for their ‘expertise’ so you should be allowed to ask questions and yes even about their ability, surely it is not all one sided? They can take your money and give you a shoddy service and you cannot say anything about it? I really do not understand their actions.
Do your research well, I did come across a Dr practising in fertility in SA (not CFC) that was previously struck off in the UK for an anaesthesiology issue, he had swopped to a different field. So I am not sure what organisations govern the clinics in SA. So please, before you go google, google, google!
Last week I was dealing with a really lovely hospital Dr on a totally unrelated issue, (I hang around lots of Drs), I told them something about a product they had not heard of. (I had been researching it as it affected a friend). She went away checked it out and called me later, having looked it up and told me that she was pleased to have met me as she had learnt something new and knowing this information meant that she did not need to do as many operations in the future. Point being, we can all learn if we have an open mind. I am not sure that all Drs have this view.
The donor agency rep I used – it was a quick process and pretty straight forward. If only it was like this in other countries! I would have preferred less of an emotional tone to the emails, as I am not ‘fluffy’ or ‘sharing’ with email strangers, but she was nice. They ask you to fill out a medical records form that they then send to the clinic – this has your very personal information on it and is not relevant to the agent (how many times you have tried IVF/ miscarriages /still births/physical problems of you/partner etc). – so send it straight to the clinic. I was very uncomfortable with these strangers knowing my history and chose not to share.
What was a little frustrating was that I asked a ‘yes/no’ question of the agent and instead I got 3 replies of several paragraphs long which wasted several days. It was about money – and they did not want to admit the answer was ‘yes’ – the question was: if my donor pulls out do you keep all the money? I still went with them –and it did not make a difference to my decision, I just needed to know where I stood.
So at the moment I am in a holding position. I have embryos and no one to transfer them. So if anyone knows of a good fertility female Dr in Cape Town/SA let me know.