While I was prepared upfront that my doctor [Dr. Carter Owen] may not be the doctor performing my retrieval, I was not prepared for not seeing her at all during treatment (minus two mins post one U/S). I felt there could’ve been more opportunity to sit down and have the process and my progression reviewed so that I had a better understanding of this process since it was Round 1.
[CCRM Northern Virginia] Strengths: •several locations and satellite offices. While not super close, they were easy to access and had parking. •the doctors are excellent •the NoVA office is beautiful and let’s face it, you’re there a lot •Lots of opportunity to ask questions when doing a consult, becoming a patient, financial coordinator and they ensure you are checking off all the “to dos” •annual embryo freezing storage ends up being less than SGF if you do more than 1 retrieval, which most do. Weaknesses: •you don’t get direct extensions to anyone and so you rarely get to speak to someone immediately or have a way to leave them a VM. With that you have wait times to get who you need to. •their portal is not as good
How was your experience with Carter Owen at CCRM Northern Virginia?
After seeking consultation and preparing for a cycle with another clinic, and deciding to switch because of the number of screw ups prior to CD1, I felt an immediate connection with Dr. Owen. I could relate to her analytical nature but also, she gave me reassurance of my diagnosis and assuaged certain fears I had. I felt comfortable and was glad I waited for her to have consultation availability. It was because I had such a comforting connection and because it was my first retrieval, that I was disappointed at how little interaction I had with her during this process. I was very relieved and assured that while she wasn’t originally my retrieval Dr scheduled, she made it a point since I was first retrieval to do it. Despite a bad outcome, I appreciate her taking to time to speak with me, comfort me and ensure the nurse connected with me to schedule a regroup to assess and come up with a plan.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Carter Owen at CCRM Northern Virginia?
Understand that there will be a lack of 1:1 and therefore you will feel a little disconnected and possibly just a number but when you do get that time with her, she will give you undivided attention, empathy and have an open ear.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Carter Owen at CCRM Northern Virginia?
While I was prepared upfront that my doctor may not be the doctor performing my retrieval, I was not prepared for not seeing her at all during treatment (minus two mins post one U/S). I felt there could’ve been more opportunity to sit down and have the process and my progression reviewed so that I had a better understanding of this process since it was Round 1.
Describe the protocols Carter Owen used in your cycles at CCRM Northern Virginia and their degree of success.
I had a natural start cycle as I have a reliable monthly cycle. While that was the rationale it wasn’t said yet I assume we were also purposely avoiding BC due to suspicion that my long time BC use is contributing to my DOR/ or expected stubborn response. I was on an Antagonist protocol and the doses were high for what this clinic/Dr uses. I don’t know if every clinic feels this way but it was expressed that there’s research showing more saturation doesn’t necessarily precipitate a stronger response. I don’t feel comfortable sharing my meds and doses. While my baseline AFC was the highest it’s been I did response slower in terms of my estrogen. Eventually we upped a med and of course as an uneducated patient I wondered the “what if” game. At the end of the day I didn’t respond as well as I WANTED but I have a feeling I responded on the lower end of ‘as expected’ by my doctor.
Describe your experience with your nurse at CCRM Northern Virginia. (Assigned nurse: Kerri)
This is harder because I left my first clinic due to mess ups only to come here and after my consult and expressing a start date and need to book it before it filled, I wasn’t told next steps and assumed I was good. Eventually as time passes I learned the ball was dropped. I was upset and not sure if I just had bad luck or this was the fertility world, but a name (not mine) ended up taking over on the phone and doing my beginning stages nurse consult and next steps and made it happen that I was to start my cycle when I wanted. While I had a primary nurse I dealt with two other nurses and never knew who I would get. While they did answer questions and respond to my needs, I did feel emotionally disconnected. I could tell from the beginning they were overworked and had too full of a patient load. I will note- some of my overall impression is mixed in because their portal isn’t great. It’s not phone friendly and I didn’t have the same level of assurance as I did with my prior clinic (who I knew would reply same day or next morning without fault). Especially using the “ask your doctor” a question and not “ask your nurse”. I never got replies using the doctor message feature except once, and it was answered by my nurse. I did not love that as I felt it was my only recourse to ask questions and be updated as to what’s going on. I felt guilty using it knowing they were busy as I was told during my mess up at the beginning.
Describe your experience with CCRM Northern Virginia.
•several locations and satellite offices. While not super close, they were easy to access and had parking.
•the doctors are excellent
•the NoVA office is beautiful and let’s face it, you’re there a lot
•Lots of opportunity to ask questions when doing a consult, becoming a patient, financial coordinator and they ensure you are checking off all the “to dos”
•annual embryo freezing storage ends up being less than SGF if you do more than 1 retrieval, which most do.
•you don’t get direct extensions to anyone and so you rarely get to speak to someone immediately or have a way to leave them a VM. With that you have wait times to get who you need to.
•their portal is not as good as SGF. It’s not super phone friendly for formatting and it glitches a lot when uploading attachments. Getting response is not also guaranteed within a timeframe and some messages weren’t ever responded to (particularly the Dr message not nurse msg feature).
• there is not frequent enough class dates for mandatory virtual courses prior to cycle start (medication class, IVF intro, egg Vit intro etc). I struggled with getting dates that worked as each course was offered only approx x1 every 1.5weeks. I think there should be multiple offerings each week at different times considering some peoples life schedules and/or short lead time to Cycle start.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at CCRM Northern Virginia.
Clinic monitoring hours 7-930. Never had an issue getting the time or location I asked for. I enjoyed that my ultrasound nurse was almost always the same. Only slightly concerned I learned at an end-of-cycle ultrasound that the nurse didn’t see a polyp anymore, which was a surprise as she never told me at a prior appt she found one.
As for my bloodwork, the phlebotomist was insanely polite, personable and a joy considering I hate needles. Loved Mark.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Carter Owen at CCRM Northern Virginia.
The cycle cost was slightly more the SGF and my medication pharmacy partner options varied a little, but they too had slightly higher cash pay/discounted rates than the pharmacy quotes I got during my time with SGF. While the structure wasn’t as simple as a set cost each cycle (I don’t qualify for multiple round discounts) I did get a straightforward out of pocket fee schedule for the first three cycles (which does decrease slightly each cycle). When comparing CCRM to SGF for three cycles it was only a few thousand more at most and let’s be honest, what is 1-2k more when you’re spending 45k?? Because I loved my doctor and felt comfortable that she was the right person to go through this journey with, I made the sacrifice to pay more. And again, the annual storage is less so at some point it’ll even out.
What specific things went wrong at CCRM Northern Virginia?
Describe the specific things that went wrong at CCRM Northern Virginia.
As mentioned previously, there was a failure after my doctor consult to schedule next steps with the nurses to begin my cycle. Despite me thinking things were fine I eventually realized I was getting close to start and had no idea what was happening that I called and learned someone dropped the ball or that my chart wasn’t given to a nurse to schedule a nurse call to begin. Luckily they fixed it and I had enough time to check all the boxes.
Only other thing and it’s slight, is that I learned is that one of my meds says not to use if allergic to latex (which I am). I found out once I picked it up (out of pocket cost) from the RX and read the inserts. Given the clinic knew my allergy and I told the pharmacy after choosing them to fill my meds and no one brought it up + there’s another equivalent without that warning, I was a little irritated. Luckily it was the inside stopper that contained latex and while I did have a little rash when injecting I don’t know if it was the latex or the med. Next time I’ll ask for the other med to be sure.