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I Used Octuplet Mom's IVF Doctor

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Editor's note: Lisa LeMone says she was a client of Dr. Michael Kamrava starting in 2002. This is her personal account of what she says happened to her. We contacted Dr. Kamrava for his response to her story, but his office said they could not comment due to patient confidentiality laws.

When this mother of one found out who the octuplet mom's fertility specialist was, she was shocked. Because he was her doctor, too!

lisa lemone used octuplets IVF doctor

Guest Blogger Lisa LeMone: When I heard that the octuplet mom and I had used the same fertility doctor, I started freaking out. I'm still completely stunned! Dr. Michael Kamrava was my first fertility doctor that I saw for about a year, from around the summer of 2002 until around March of 2003. I didn't really like him and never connected with him, but I stuck with him because I didn't want to start over with another doctor. It sounds stupid now, but the whole fertility thing is so overwhelming.

I always thought his whole operation was fishy ... his wife was a nurse, another relative was the billing person. They charged me for procedures that should have gone directly through insurance, but I could never get my insurance company and his office on the phone at the same time, so nothing ever got resolved. He even canceled the day of a procedure and his office had me travel to another office to see another doctor for the procedure. Talk about stressful!

He never put me out during a couple of pretty painful fertility procedures. Later, when I finally changed fertility doctors, and learned what it was to have a great one, I found out that it is common practice to administer light anesthesia for a "twilight sleep" during certain fertility procedures.

Also, he had a donor egg operation going on in the same office ... a clear conflict of interest ... and he was always pushing the donor egg option on me!

When I changed fertility doctors, I also found out that donor egg agencies and fertility clinics are typically completely separate offices with no relation to each other.

During the time, I was treated by Dr. Kamrava, I always felt like he had an ulterior motive, that he was going through the motions with me for some personal and ultimate goal of his. A friend told me today that she never understood why I continued to be treated by him if I felt negatively toward him. Infertility is complicated and I never dreamed I'd be in a situation where I needed help to conceive. I had already gone through one very expensive consultation with another fertility doctor whom I felt was a bit abrasive ... and who was not on my insurance plan. So I found myself looking through my insurance provider directory for fertility doctors covered through my insurance. A doctor in Beverly Hills seemed a logical and safe choice!

My opinion of him now that I know he treated Nadya Suleman is the same as it was then. I certainly wouldn't recommend him to anyone seeking fertility treatments. And not because he wasn't able to get me pregnant, but because I don't think his first priority is in the best interest of his patients. During his final meeting with me, when all of my fertility insurance allowance had been exhausted (a generous $20,000), and he made it clear, in not so many words, that he would not provide any more treatments to me unless I had some financial plan. Our conversation focused on his in-office pregnancy statistics of women over 40 and then to the option of using donor eggs, a decision I was not ready to make.

After hearing about the octuplet mom, an office visit with Dr. Kamrava (early in my treatment with him) keeps running through my mind. I had already gone through two unsuccessful inseminations and, after weeks of fertility shots, his office was ready to schedule my first IVF. I think I had something like five eggs ... not a lot, but enough for an IVF. As I was scheduling the procedure with the front desk, a nurse, whom I later discovered was Dr. Kamrava's spouse, informed me that my particular insurance only covers the retrieval of two eggs, so I would have to come out of pocket right then and there for the other three eggs at $500 a pop. It didn't make sense to me and I explained that my insurance covered fertility treatments at a lifetime max of $20,000. She pressed the issue and, not wanting to upset the apple cart and giddy about the possibility of finally becoming pregnant, I handed over my credit card. On my way back from his office in Beverly Hills to my office in West L.A., I decided I'd call my insurance company. Sure enough, the insurance company confirmed that there were no restrictions and that I was fully covered. When I called his office to report this and spoke to his billing person, she too insisted that the insurance would not pay to have all of the eggs retrieved. When I offered to get the insurance people on the line, the call was mysteriously dropped. Were they double billing ... charging both me and the insurance company? I don't know. I do know, however, that for my second IVF with him I had four eggs, but strangely enough, I was not charged that time for the "extra" eggs.

Also, during my treatment with him, while in the doctor's waiting room, I would witness young women walking into his office inquiring to the receptionist about Dr. Kamrava's donor egg program. At the time, it seemed a conflict of interest to me, a fertility doctor also running a donor egg agency in the same office, but honestly at the time I didn't think past that.

After my experience with Dr. Kamrava I decided to take a break from fertility treatments and traditional western medicine. A friend suggested I try acupuncture for fertility and recommended a practice in Santa Monica. I loved it and really connected with my doctor. I spent a year being treated there. Although I didn't become pregnant while being treated there, my doctor/acupuncturist ultimately recommended another fertility doctor to me, whom I loved, and for that I am eternally grateful. After another year with the new fertility doctor, I finally became pregnant.

To say the offices of Dr. Kamrava and the offices of the fertility doctor who ultimately got me pregnant were like night and day is an understatement. I realized then the difference between a bad doctor and a great and caring professional ... nursing and billing staff included.


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43 comments so far | Post a comment now
MolliBuckeye February 13, 2009, 10:20 AM

I’ll say it again: STOP messing with Nature. Work to change adoption laws. Understand that some people can not conceive naturally, and for those people the only option should be adoption. If you choose to wait until later in life to have children, that is a risk you take.
Please stop saying things like “it is Gods will” when speaking of IVF and other fertility treatments. If you believe and have fertility issues, then it was Gods will for you to adopt and give a loving home to an orphan.
Give me a break people!

JMM February 13, 2009, 10:46 AM

Hey MolliBuckeye,
Bet you conceived first try. Typical for someone who hasn’t experienced the pain others have.

Now tell me, why is it ok for medicine to have improved in all other fields but not IVF? It used to be if I got cancer, I died. Now medicine can actually keep me ALIVE. That’s unnatural, isn’t it? Or babies and children were dying of disease. Hey look at that, now prevented by vaccines. Another score for medicine!

But if medicine is used to create a child, one who will be loved and cherished for a lifetime, that’s wrong? Open your mind.

Sincerely,
-The parent of an adopted child who has never used fertility.

Anonymous February 13, 2009, 11:02 AM

Jack Green: stop posting Spam

MolliBuckeye February 13, 2009, 11:32 AM

JMM -creating life and saving lives are two very different things. All your arguments for saving lives actually underscore MY point. Let’s save the lives of children already born. Until the time we run out of unwanted children, we do not need to create more for those who were unable to conceive. I just feel strongly that as long as people feel it is okay to use IVF, Surrogates, and the like, we will not have the incentive and pressure to change adoption laws. There are millions of kids worldwide looking for parents (thank you for adopting by the way), and we give bioligical parents way to many chances to “straighten up” leaving kids to time out in foster care. It is a travesty, and I wish that more people would consider that not being able to conceive might just be a sign that there is a child already here waiting for you.
By the way; I have 2 kids, they are mine, carried in my heart if not in my womb!

D February 13, 2009, 11:52 AM

I’m happy for you that your eventual treatment with a caring doctor helped you have the baby you always wanted.
its stories like yours that upset me so much that this self absorbed train wreck can bastardize a process developed to help women overcome physical obstacles and share the joy of a child.

I had two children when I was much younger and didn’t have the resources to adequately care for them. not just financially, but a network of family, emotional support, everything you need to raise a child in a stable, loving environment. they are both adopted now and in their teens and I hear they are doing great. I loved them so much and letting them go to live with someone else they would call Mom and Dad was heartbreaking, but it was the right thing to do for them.

I’m settled now with my life, we have a daughter we love, a small but wonderful family.

sometimes you have to make the tough choices, and put your own wishes and dreams aside to let your children thrive.

JMM February 13, 2009, 12:30 PM

MolliBuckeye,
If you have adopted children, you know that people can interject their own thoughts and feelings all the time. Where did you adopt from? Are they “real” siblings? etc.

So one would think you of all people would know that unless you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, you don’t know their lives. Stopping IVF won’t necessarily make those same people adopt. In fact, I would hope that someone wouldn’t adopt unless their heart is 100% in it. Because it’s not for the weak, that is absolutely for sure.

I guess my point really is that you are entitled to your opinion and I to mine, but what really got me going was that this woman shared her story and you criticized her in front of everyone for going in the direction her heart led her. And that is hurtful.

You don’t need to thank me for adopting. I appreciate your sentiment but I didn’t do it to save a child. I did it to find my daughter.

Marie February 13, 2009, 1:07 PM

MolliBuckeye — I think adoption is great for those whom it is right for. I have many adopted family members and it has worked out fine. On the other hand, I understand that many women want to try what they can to have their own children. I think these options are great for these people.

Just curious - do you spend as much energy on preventing the children from getting INTO the system as you do trying to get people to adopt them? Yes we need people to adopt these children without parents, but we also need these situations to stop occuring at the rate they currently are.

Karen February 13, 2009, 1:18 PM

Thank you to everyone who’s sharing their story; I’m glad you were able to put together families. I’m always happy when a woman who wants to get pregnant gets pregnant, and I’m always happy when a child who needs a home gets one. I think what MolliBuckeye is referring to is parents who are always thanking God and talking about His will and all that, yet turned to science to create their little miracles. There is an element of hypocrisy there. If the parents acknowledge that mankind can sometimes work miracles too, then at least I have no problem with godly parents with IVF-type kids. I don’t know. As long as you love your kids, it doesn’t matter how they came to you, really.

L3 February 13, 2009, 1:25 PM

Hey MolliBuckeye,
I used to think like you… those who couldn’t conceive on their own, should adopt… before I had or wanted children of my own. And who said anything about “God’s will?” IVF has nothing to do with “God’s will.” I didn’t meet and marry my husband until I was 38 and we both wanted children. It wasn’t until we tried to conceive that we found out we couldn’t. Believe me, it’s not something anyone chooses. We were fortunate enough to have the help of a wonderful and responsible fertility doctor, who also had the good sense to recommend a fertility therapist, should we need one. Now happily my husband and I are the proud parents of one child thru IVF. Unfortunately it sounds as though Ms. Suleman didn’t have good or responsible doctors.

TLK February 13, 2009, 1:32 PM

My sister and her husband tried to have children for over ten years (she married at 22, and they started trying a year into their marriage). At 32, she decided to accept that fact that she can’t become pregnant and they have since adopted 4 children (at birth) and raise them as their own. Acceptance of your situation will save you much pain, my sister said that in a speech at a women’s convention in Texas last year.

Campbell February 13, 2009, 1:34 PM

MolliBuckeye and JMM - I’m currently undergoing IVF after conceiving twins on my first IVF but losing them at 23 weeks due to ruptured membrane. My husband and I would gladly adopt but domestic and international adoption is quite costly. Insurance covers IVF 3 tries for us so it’s actually cheaper than adoption. Also, hubby is 45 and we’ve only been married for 2 years so some countries won’t allow us to adopt because we haven’t been married long enough and if we wait we’ll be too old to get a young child. I totally accept that maybe I’ve waited too long to get pregnant (I got married at 38) but for us IVF is easier and less costly at this point. We could probably adopt an older child or special needs child more eaily, but that’s a tough decision and something we haven’t fully embraced yet. I’d be very interested to know how you came to adopt and your experiences with it. One of the problems I have with domestic adoption is taking a child from it’s mother - I know how I felt giving birth to my children at 23 weeks. I was devastated that they didn’t come home with me and can’t imagine putting a mother through that. Maybe it’s different when the mother knows the child is alive and in a good home, but it hurts me to think about the pain they must go through.

Mary February 13, 2009, 2:29 PM

Campbell, you say, “One of the problems I have with domestic adoption is taking a child from its mother…”

Where do children in international adoptions come from? Do they grow on trees?

—-> http://www.linktv.org/programs/babybusiness

Bec Thomas February 13, 2009, 3:30 PM

Campbell why do you think the children are up for adoption? It’s either because the mother can’t care for the child or the parents have been declare unfit to raise that child. Your logic is truely flawed.

Campbell February 13, 2009, 4:00 PM

Mary, that was an interesting article. Thanks for sending it. You’re absolutely right - most mothers giving up her child are going to have the same feelings regardless of where they come from or the reason for the adoption. I guess I wrongly assumed that in the U.S. many mothers are “talked into” adoption and that internationally it was usually a case of poverty, but the article you sent clearly points out that mothers are coerced into giving up their children, or the children may even be kidnapped. This makes me even more reluctant to adopt. It’s so hard to know what to do. I guess in the end you have to think of the child you are helping and not the mother you are potentially hurting, but I’m not sure. As Bec points out some parents are declared unfit to raise their children, so you are really helping the child in this case and perhaps shouldn’t feel bad for the mother.

patriz February 13, 2009, 5:00 PM

What if this Doctor is using his sperm, it been known, someone should have the babies DNA!!

kk February 13, 2009, 5:37 PM

Lisa, I would love to compare notes. I was a patient about the same time and your article read like I wrote it.

jz February 13, 2009, 11:34 PM

I wonder if the Octuplet Mom was able to afford her ivf by being an egg donor? Perhaps she has alot more than 14 children out there!

Kelly February 14, 2009, 11:45 PM

Dr. Kamrava is a horrible man. I made one trip to his office last summer to have a semen sample analyzed and during my short stay in his waiting room while filling out my paper work, I was privy to him be unbelievably verbally abusive to his receptionist who was trying her best to answer incoming patient calls. He even proceeded to yell obscenities at her and fire her right in front of me! I was in utter disbelief. It was disgraceful to hear him treat any human being the way he was. When I heard about this octuplets mother, my first question was “what nutty unethical doctor would implant this many eggs in any woman” Then I saw his face on the news and thought “of course, it was that man… he is completely whacked”! I will never go near him or his office again.

susan February 15, 2009, 4:38 AM

Good post! Some bloggers mentioned this story at Billionairepal.com. It is said she has a profile at that site. Is she looking for boyfriend?

Laura February 15, 2009, 4:47 PM

For any of you spouting that adoption is expensive, I’ve got news for you! There are tens of thousands of kids in this country needing forever families. I know every state is different, but in Texas, if you adopt out of the foster care system, it is typically less than/around $1,000 TOTAL - and there are huge tax deductions for what you do spend. AND if they’re over a certain age, part of a sibling group or have a disability, the state will still pay you “child support” even after the adoption and pay their tuition and fees at any public state university later in life, and they all remain under Medicaid (as secondary insurance) until they’re 18. The state is doing everything they can to get these kids out there adopted so we have no more excuses. You know, girls who age out of foster care, usually leave with no place to go, no marketable skills, some haven’t even finished high school yet, everything they own can fit into a garbage bag and then… over 60% get pregnant within the first year. Well no wonder?! No one has prepared them for the world AT ALL and they are looking for someone to take care of them. Also, I recently learned that something like 40% of our nation’s homeless population was at one time in the foster care system. FORTY percent! If we want kids to stop having kids, women to not get into bad domestic situations and live on welfare, less homeless people out on our streets, WE have to take some responsibility, because it starts when they are 5, 6, 7 years old. And you think that by the time they’re age six, you won’t be able to “bond” with them? Try checking back in with them 15 years later and see where they are in life. For those who can afford it and really feel in their heart that a Thai orphan is best for their family (and I’m not saying those kids don’t need help, too), but if we want more strong, good moms in this country, like ourselves, we have to raise them first.


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