Grab a snack, ladies, this is going to be a long post.
My two consultations in Ohio yesterday were really good. At 12:30 I went to the Cincinnati Institute for Reproductive Health and at 3:30 I went to the Bethesda Center for Reproductive Health and Fertility.
Honestly I was a little leery of The Institute. This clinic offers a money back guarantee and I was terrified they would spend the entire appointment trying to convince me to ditch my 5 embryos and make new ones with them, using their program. Instead I was greeted with a bunch of genuinely nice nurses, staff and a doctor who knocked my fertility socks off (actually I forgot my socks!)
We’ll call this doctor Dr. B. I instantly felt at east with Dr. B. He spent well over an hour going over my weird history, previous IF treatments/diagnosis and the pros and cons of transferring my embryos to his clinic.
I told him about the debate over whether or not I have PCOS – one doctor gives me a definitive yes, the other gives me a definitive no. Dr. B took one look at my ovaries and said that they are “HUGE!” and that I “absolutely have PCOS.” He showed me the string of pearls around each ovary and then the huge numbers of follicles that were too many to count. This, he said, is why I have not had a period and why despite all my efforts am still gaining weight (currently up + 14 since I started this nightmare).
Dr. B is the first doctor to offer to actually test and treat my PCOS. He ordered some blood tests and based on the result, we will decide if and how to medicate me prior to my FET cycle to help reduce the risk of PCOS-related miscarriage. He recommended I start on Pregnitude now and, based on the test results, potentially adding Metformin to the mix. He also said that a low carbohydrate diet is the only way I will lose weight and suggested reducing my soy intake (I’ll post about diet-related stresses later). Who knew that there are RE’s actually interested in treating the root cause of a problem AND helping you achieve pregnancy?
A big concern of mine was finding a clinic that did not only transfer embryos two days a week. Dr. B assured me that they do transfers 364 days a year, including weekends. They are closed on Christmas, which I’m pretty damn baby-crazy but even I would not interrupt my holiday to have my ute stuffed with an embryo. J
Dr. B did explain that, quite simply, FET success rates are highest when done at the clinics where the embryos were created. However, his clinic works with transferred embryos on a regular basis and his team of embryologists are very experienced and are constantly keeping up with the latest advances. Today I spoke via phone with the director of embryology and she was very confident in the embryologists experience and capability to use embryos created at another lab. She was also extremely confident in the embryo transfer service that she uses.
Then cost was discussed and, ugh, changing clinics is going to be expensive. The transfer of embryos will be $450 plus another $600 by the lab to actually accept them and get them settled for storage. The FET cycle will cost $3,400 plus the cost of meds. For comparison, an FET with Dr. A is only $2,000 meds and there is not the $1,000 in embryo shipping costs.
Our second consult of the day with Bethesda was also good and the doctor seemed knowledgeable and capable, however, I did not feel the same connection with this doctor nor was there as much interest in treating my funky ovaries. His FET price was $2,600 but this did not include monitoring, embryo transfer/storage and several other things. He also requires an onslaught of blood tests before his lab will accept my embryos, thereby adding more costs to the process.
Ultimately I’m left completely unsure of what to do. First, let’s review the reasons why I am considering changing clinics:
- I want to find a doctor I feel comfortable with and a clinic with a positive, caring atmosphere.
- I want to find a doctor actually interested in what the heck is wrong with me.
- I want to find a clinic with an interest in one day restoring my fertility, not just signing me up for another IVF package when it is time to have baby No. 2, if we ever get to baby No. 1.
- I want to find a clinic that will work with my existing embryos.
Based on this list, Dr. B is the guy. I’m still torn, though, with the statement that ultimately FETs are most successful at the labs where the embryos were created. Then I think about the tender loving care study and what a big impact feeling well tended to can make.
Then there is the actual cost of switching. Lord have mercy, this cycle will end up being close to the cost of my IVF cycle.
Ugh, I am making myself crazy with all these thoughts. Without the thought of money, Dr. B really seems like the guy for us. Not only will he hopefully knock me up, he also wants to try and fix me. No one has shown interest in fixing me. Ever.
So what do you all think? Assuming any of you made it this far, Dr. B or Dr. A? Or just give it up already, Belle, and move on with a child-free life?