How was your experience with Heber Dunaway at Fertility Institute of New Orleans?
Just a bit of background, Dr. Dunaway is our second RE and we came to him after we moved to the area. We initially sought treatment after two back to back miscarriages. I will readily admit I would prefer my RE to be a woman but due to location, insurance and success rates, he seemed like a decent choice. I find him to be pretty frank but can sometimes seem impatient when explaining things - uses acronyms when full words would be more appropriate, rushes through things. When filling out my paperwork, I put my occupation was a biologist (but I mainly deal with invertebrates and my husband is a professor) so I am not sure if us having a science background influences the way he talks to us. We have met with him 3 times now and I admit that each time gets better and the last time, prior to our first IUI, he did take the time to answer every concern. He has diagnosed me with high natural killer (NK) cells but having done my own research am not fully convinced this a true cause of recurrent miscarriage. He was definitely willing to engage me in a conversation about my concerns, acknowledges that the treatment for high NK cells is experimental and his evidence is largely anecdotal - but he believes it works. I do have to mention, prior to tipping me back in the chair right before he performed my first IUI (only so far), he did ask if I was "ready for my ride?" I found this extremely inappropriate (and see my original comment about preferring a female RE) but what are you going to say to someone who is holding a syringe of your husbands sperm? Do I think he will get us pregnant? Yes. Would I have him over for dinner? Nope.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Heber Dunaway at Fertility Institute of New Orleans?
Brace yourself...and do your homework.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Heber Dunaway at Fertility Institute of New Orleans?
While the nurses (who I interactive the most) are very attentive and my primary nurse definitely knows who I am, there is no doubt that this clinic is pumping woman and couples through with what feels like pretty regimented steps - medicated cycles, IUI, IVF. I feel like you are sorted into a box and if that box doesn't work, you get moved to the next one with little reflection on whether this is really the right box for you. Part of this may come from my own insecurities regarding making the right decisions for my family, but I still feel like a human number.
Describe the protocols Heber Dunaway used in your cycles at Fertility Institute of New Orleans and their degree of success.
We came to Dr. Dunaway on letrozole + timed intercourse cycle 3 of 4 that our previous RE had started us on after 2 miscarriages in 3 cycles. That month in addition to the 5mg for 7 days of letrozole we added 4mg/day of Estradiol starting day 12, an 10,000 iu Novarel shot on day 13 after labs and ultrasound looked good and 200 mg/day of Estrase. No pregnancy. The next cycle was anovulatory and I was told I did not respond to the letrozole. I do not have any known issues with ovulation and I really wanted to discuss that it may have been the estrogen, HCG or progesterone that that contributed to the off cycle, but no one was particularly receptive. After weighing our options with Dr. Dunaway, we decided to to try 1-2 IUI cycles before moving on to IVF. My day 3 US did show that that I had a 12mm follicle that they predicted was a cyst but they decided to move forward anyways. We did with 150 iu of Gonal F on days 5-7 and at my day 8 US, I had one follicle at 22mm. My blood work suggested this was not an overstimulated follicle and so I triggered that night with 5,000 iu of Novarel and the IUI was scheduled for the next day, cycle day 9. We are currently 7 days past trigger and 6 days past IUI.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Fertility Institute of New Orleans. (Assigned nurse: Holly)
This practice would not exist without the nursing staff! I interact primarily with Holly and have always found her to be knowledgeable and available when I inevitably forget to to ask something and have to call her back. She is very professional but has expressed genuine support for my husband and I. I have also seen Simone on one occasion and she also took the time to answer all of my questions and gave me as much time as I needed. I have never had an unpleasant interaction with the nurses here.
Describe your experience with Fertility Institute of New Orleans.
The clinic is nice and well organized but as other reviewers have mentioned, it still uses paper charts and has no online portal so you have to ask to get your actual numbers for all the routine blood work. My biggest complaint though is that they have no designated billing department designed to talk to patients during their visits, so aside from a packet with the IVF costs we were given, it is impossible to get an idea of what anything costs. And even with the packet, that does not put it into the context of your insurance. Our previous RE would not let you leave the office without a trip to the patient billing coordinator and so you never had any surprise costs. The idea is brilliant and shows so much respect for patients. We are fortunate to have good fertility coverage from my employer but I still want to know what everything costs.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Heber Dunaway at Fertility Institute of New Orleans.
Every time I go to the office, I have a copay of $23.90 - $30 per visit and every few visits I have to pay for 2-3 visits (I would prefer to pay each visit). For prescriptions, I pay $10 for 60 pills of Estradiol, and the first cycle I paid $120 total for 24 100mg progesterone suppositories and 10,000 iu of Novarel but the second cycle it was only $60 for both. I paid $35 each for the Gonal F and Centrotide (which I did not end up using). They have yet to process my IUI claim. If we are to get pregnant from the IUI (or IVF in the future) the treatment for the high NK cells is $2500 per bag of immunoglobin which we have been told by Dr. Dunaway insurance will not cover. He recommends 3 bags.
Describe Heber Dunaway's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Fertility Institute of New Orleans.
My understanding is the law (not sure if this is federal or Louisiana state) now states that you can only transfer 2 embryos if you are 38 or over and forgo genetic testing (PGS). Prior to this I believe he was pro multiple transfer.