How was your experience with Tolga Mesen at Carolinas Fertility Institute?
Dr. Mesen has gone above and beyond to provide excellent care to my husband and I. He even provided me with his cell phone number so I could reach him after hours. This was a Godsend when I was roughly 6 weeks pregnant and began spotting. I reached out to him for assurance and he was there to tell me what to do. It was determined that I had an SCH and he monitored us every week until we ultimately lost our baby at 9 weeks. The compassion he showed during this time was amazing. He scheduled me for a D&C and when he assured me he would be performing it himself, I was so relieved. I have come to trust him more than any other provider I've seen and even somewhat dread the day we "graduate" from his clinic and I have to begin seeing someone else for prenatal care. Of course it will be very bittersweet because it will mean we finally have our miracle baby on the way.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Tolga Mesen at Carolinas Fertility Institute?
I would advise them to be open and honest about questions that you have and what your goals are. He is easy to talk to and if there is something you don't understand, he will make sure you do before he leaves the room.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Tolga Mesen at Carolinas Fertility Institute?
Dr. Mesen has always made it clear to us that he cares about us and cares that we get pregnant. He has always done everything possible to ensure the best results for us. When we lost our baby at 9 weeks in February, I could visibly see the impact it had on him and he was upset for us. Even at our follow up appointment, he said again how upset he is that it hadn't worked for us. He genuinely wants this for us and it's apparent in the care he provides.
Describe the protocols Tolga Mesen used in your cycles at Carolinas Fertility Institute and their degree of success.
Our first 2 attempts were with IUI with Letrozole. We had originally planned to do a third course of IUI in which he had prescribed Clomid, to see if we could get better results. At this point, my husband and I inquired whether we could move forward with IVF instead, which we ended up doing, so we only did the 2 IUI's. For my retrieval, I was on Leuprolide, Menopur and Gonal-F which I understood was a pretty normal treatment protocol. I also had a dose of HGH for a trigger shot before retrieval. Leading up to retrieval, my husband and I were both on an antibiotic for roughly 4 days to ensure we remained healthy. We had decided on genetic testing and freeze-all. Our clinic does ICSI for all of their IVF protocol options. After the retrieval, they gave us the results of our 5 day embryos, then sent the best 8 off for genetic testing. (Our package only included payment for 8 embryos to be tested, but we could have done more if we wanted). We had retrieved 28 total embryos and had 21 make it to day 5. Of our 8 that were tested, we had 5 come back normal, 2 were mosaic and one was abnormal. Once we were ready for transfer, we moved forward with a genetically normal male 5AB graded embryo. 8 days after transfer, I went in to have the beta test done. My levels came back at 85. I went back 2 days later and they were 163 so I was officially pregnant.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Carolinas Fertility Institute. (Assigned nurse: Ashley Slifka)
The entire nursing staff at CFI has been phenomenal. Everyone from the girls at reception (Courtney and Kaitlyn) all the way to primary care coordinators (Ashley and Rachel) were amazing. They are friendly, know us by name when we walk in to the clinic, answer any questions we may have, return phone calls promptly and just provide amazing care 100% of the time. I really can't praise them enough. When we found out at our 9 week ultrasound that there was no heartbeat, the first person to hug me was the nurse who was in the room (and I can't for the life of me remember her name). When she wrapped her arms around me, it wasn't just a half-hearted hug from a random person, but it was a strong, heartfelt hug which was just what I needed in that moment. I could tell that the staff was impacted by our loss just as we were. I really love each and every one of the staff members there. And although Ashley was originally technically appointed as our "primary care coordinator", every person there has had an equal hand in our treatment and has meant just as much to us.
Describe your experience with Carolinas Fertility Institute.
The clinic itself is very welcoming, clean, professional and warm. I wouldn't say there are any weaknesses because although sometimes there are lengthy wait times, I would expect nothing less of a doctor's visit. Most of the times that we arrive, we are taken back in less than 10 minutes.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Tolga Mesen at Carolinas Fertility Institute.
Each round of IUI was $1,000 plus the cost of the Letrozole which I believe was minimal. The cost of our IVF which included retrieval, freezing embryos, a year of storage and genetic testing of 8 embryos was $14,025. They did end up giving us a discount since we wrote a check so it ended up being about $200 cheaper. The total cost of the stimulation meds was about $4,600. All labs that we had done prior to retrieval were not included in our package so we had to pay for them separately. We also did a screening for Cystic Fibrosis which was about $250. My results came back and stated I was a carrier so my husband then had to be tested for another $250. When it came time for transfer, that cost was $3,000. There have been many many lab appointments which usually run anywhere from $20-$60 each.
Describe Tolga Mesen's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Carolinas Fertility Institute.
Because our embryos were genetically tested, we understood that there really was no need to transfer more than one embryo. I think it was as much our decision as it was Dr. Mesen's because we did not want a multiples pregnancy and with genetically tested embryos, we felt sure that transferring only one would yield the results we wanted.
What specific things went wrong at Carolinas Fertility Institute?
- Failed to call with results
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Carolinas Fertility Institute.
When I went in for my first beta test, I was told I would receive a phone call the same day with the results. I never got the call and the next morning, I called them to see if the results were in and they were. However, I don't hold this against them for 2 reasons. The first being that we got the results we wanted, so I was over the moon excited. The second was that it was the first and only mistake they've made and we are all human and I'm not going to hold that against them.