How was your experience with Heather Cook at Coastal Fertility Specialists?
Our experience with Dr. Cook was that she is a caring doctor who does want what is best for the patient. She is very very kind and confident but communicating with her was difficult. It felt like she had a lot of patients to handle.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Heather Cook at Coastal Fertility Specialists?
Make sure you try to communicate as clearly as you can. Ask every question you can imagine.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Heather Cook at Coastal Fertility Specialists?
Felt somewhere in between. At first our relationship was great and she has a very kind and caring bedside manner, but when our retrieval and transfers didn’t go as planned communication was very difficult. We didn’t get many answers and it was hard to get her or my nurse on the phone for conversations. When we tried to call out of respect to explain we were switching doctors we never got a call back. That made us feel like a number.
Describe the protocols Heather Cook used in your cycles at Coastal Fertility Specialists and their degree of success.
Will do my best here it's been over a few years. Dr. Cook recommended starting with IUI, we did 3 all resulting in 0 positive pregnancy tests. Medication and protocol was tweaked each round. Here were the meds I was on during those IUI'S- Gonal-F RFF 300IU, Ovidrel 250 MCG, Progesterone 200MG (50 Cap), Letrozole 2.5 MG Tablet (5 tab). If I remember correctly medicine was increased in dosage each IUI round. (especially Gonal, my follicles were slow to grow).
IVF Retrieval - Dr. Cook Retrieved 9 eggs (which was not a number we were happy with given I had close to 19 good size follicles my last check up before transfer), 7 fertilized, 2 embryo's made it to day 5, both were frozen for a FET. We were told they were a "good grade" based off their grading system. We did not have them tested, it was not recommended to us because we were young. Waking up from surgery I was told they were unable to retrieve any eggs from my right side then proceeded to ask if we did our trigger shot at the right time. Which we did. I was still groggy and waking up, I personally felt like we were rushed out of there unable to ask the questions needed. Medicine protocol for retrieval- HCG Dilution 100 Units, Cetrotide .25 Mg inj, Gonal F REF #900 IU pen, hCG 10,000 IU dispense 1 vial (trigger), Lupron 4mg/.8 ml trigger kit (did not end up using lupron as a trigger just the hcg trigger), Estrace 1mg 180 tablets, Progestrone in oil 50mg/ml #3- 10ml vials 1ml IM as directed, Prometrium 200 mg #50 insert 1 @ bedtime (as directed).
FET #1- Dr. Cook recommended transferring one seemingly healthy day 5 embryo. This resulted in a chemical pregnancy. We were told it was more than likely it was an embryo quality issue Here was our medicine protocol- "Escalating Estrace Protocol CPET" Estrace 1MG tablet 2X/day (am &pm) for 5 days then increase to 2 1mg tablet 2x/day for 4 days then increased to 2mg tablet 3x/day (8 am, 2pm, 8pm) remain on this until otherwise told. They ended up having me do my night time dose vaginally to help thicken my lining, on 13th day begin Progesterone in Oil Injection 1CC am increased to 2x/day the following day until transfer. After Transfer I stopped PM Progesterone Injections and began prometrium one 200 mg capsule vaginally before bed.
After our FET #1 Dr. Cook recommended an "endometrial Scratch" to toughen up the lining of my uterus and make it more sticky. She informed us it is a somewhat new procedure that has been shown to help with transfers. We did that before FET #2. Dr. Cook also recommended a round of antibiotics in case there was any inflammation (ie endometriosis) also it is as I understood common to go on after a chemical pregnancy or miscarriage.
FET #2- Did not result in a positive pregnancy test. The only difference was adding antibiotic. Medicine Protocol- Started antibiotic first day for 8 days- Escalating Estrace Protocol CPET. Estrace 1MG 2X/Day for 4 days- increased to 2mg 2x/day for 4 days- increased to 2mg 3x/day remain on this until otherwise instructed. 13th day begin Progesterone in Oil Injection 1CC am increased to 2x/day the following day until transfer. After Transfer I stopped PM Progesterone Injections and began prometrium one 200 mg capsule vaginally before bed.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Coastal Fertility Specialists. (Assigned nurse: Becky Welch)
My Nurse was Becky she was also a nurse coordinator Nurse Becky was very very kind and friendly. She did make us feel like she cared about us and our outcome. We did feel like she was hard to get a hold of. I would not get phone calls returned in a timely manner (while i was in a protocol calendar). She started emailing so communication was ok for awhile, but then I would send a couple- a few emails with no response. Then we would call with no timely response ultimately have to call the front office for help. it felt as if she had too many patients or was just too busy. Dr. Cook and Becky work out of the Mt. Pleasant office. My husband and I live in Columbia, SC so we were monitored in the Lexington office. The nursing staff as well as coordinators at this location are so so great. We had no issues scheduling or communicating with the Lexington office.
Describe your experience with Coastal Fertility Specialists.
Strengths- Welcoming and professional environment. They seem to be able to get you in for your initial workup and consultation quickly. Nurse and doctors are all very friendly and welcoming making your first visits a lot easier because you feel comfortable.
Weaknesses- Communication. There seems to be issues with being able to get anyone on the phone. Which when you are in a treatment cycle can be very stressful if you have a question. In our experience it seems as if we had to call the clinic to keep them on track, ask for results, things to be faxed etc. It almost seems as if they have too many patients and not enough staff to be attentive to everyone which ultimately made us feel like just a number rather than people so we switched clinics.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Heather Cook at Coastal Fertility Specialists.
IUI- $625 (NOT including medicine)
IVF- (14,890 Total not including medicine + anesthesia) Stimulation Monitoring $5,339, Retrieval Procedure $2,270, Embryology $4,570, FET $2,165 , med apprx $6,188
Describe Heather Cook's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Coastal Fertility Specialists.
I don't ever remember there being a conversation about if we even had an option. We knew it was recommended to do a FET and to transfer one embryo because of our age, but other than that there was not much of a conversation. We should have asked more questions.
What specific things went wrong at Coastal Fertility Specialists?
- Lost paperwork
- Failed to send your chart to another clinic
- Failed to convey critical information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Coastal Fertility Specialists.
There was just a lot of mishandling with communication. Once we would finally get our nurse or doctor on the phone it was ok. We also had a lot of issues getting paper work and records faxed to our new clinic after we decided to switch clinics.
We did feel like they failed to convey critical information after our retrieval. It wasn't they results we wanted or the results they expected either. I was woke up from the procedure and before I could really fully wake up we were told results (they retrieved 9 eggs) but were not able to retrieve anything from the follicles on my right side. We were then asked if we did our trigger shot at the right time, which we did. We felt rushed out of there before we could really ask why or what they think happened. We never got those questions answered either, and we felt that something must have gone wrong but the issue was never addressed.