Describe your experience with Houston Fertility Institute.
I had no idea what to expect going into the process, but it was a great experience overall. I knew after the first meeting with Dr Williams that HFI utilizes a team approach, which makes sense given the time intensive nature of the fertility business. I saw multiple doctors during my time there - from the hysteroscopy (Dr. Bello), to the egg retrieval (Dr. Kim) to the embryo transfers (both performed by Dr. Williams). I also had a bleeding scare on a Sunday morning and had to call the emergency line, and I got a call back from the Dr on call (Dr. Bello) who had me come in for an ultrasound right away (everything was ok). It was great to know that no matter what the issue could be, there was someone available to handle it.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Daniel Williams at Houston Fertility Institute?
I was supported through my entire journey - and it was a roller coaster of elation and disappointment. Dr Williams and his staff responded to my questions with detailed information, compassion and professionalism. I received phone calls when I thought something wasn't right (there was an issue with a study I was supposed to be a part of that didn't happen, but Dr Williams was not at fault), he walked me through my options and different stages of treatment, and helped me to land on the best path forward given my preferences and desired ultimate outcome.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
I had three nurses during my time there - Patricia, Connie and Joy. They were great to work with and were responsive to all of my communication, whether it was in person, via email or phone. They were professional when delivering results, both good and bad. They took some verbal frustrations from me in stride, and encouraged me in the right way.
How was your experience with Daniel Williams at Houston Fertility Institute?
Initially I went for a consultation about egg retrieval and Dr Williams fully explained the process and how it would work at HFI. A few months later I returned ready to move forward with the goal of having a baby on my own. We started with IUI's and ultimately moved on to IVF. He gave me my options and helped me to understand them fully so I could make the best decision possible given my circumstances. When the first transfer resulted in a chemical pregnancy (and I was sad/mad/confused), he displayed empathy, encouraged me and adjusted my plan to move forward. My second transfer was successful and he and his staff were elated for me and celebrated each week until I 'graduated' to my OB. I felt well cared for at every step and look forward to repeating the process with him in the next couple of years.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Daniel Williams at Houston Fertility Institute?
Communicate and Trust. There are a lot of options when you start the journey, talk to Dr Williams about your concerns and ask any questions. He will explain things to you so you can make the best decision for your family. Trust that he wants the same outcome that you do, and know that he's working to make your dreams come true.
Describe the protocols Daniel Williams used in your cycles at Houston Fertility Institute and their degree of success.
1. Hysteroscopy: Found that both of my tubes were blocked, but they were able to get them unblocked during the procedure. This was crucial prior to moving onto my IUI treatment.
2. IUI's (2 times): Femara (oral med) + Ovidrel (injectible): Neither one was successful
3. Egg Retrieval: Menopur (150iu); Cetrotide .(.25 mg)
Ovidrel (250 mcg) Follistim AQ (150IU ) - 19 eggs retrieved, 13 mature, 9 fertilized, 6 blastocysts; PGS testing - 3 normal, 2 abnormal, 1 inconclusive
4. FET #1: Desogen; Prednisone 10mg (2 x/day x 4 days starting 1 day before ET); Minivelle Patch 0.1mg (place 3 patch on the skin and change every 3 days); Estrace 2 mg - Tablets; PIO Shots. Once chemical pregnancy was confirmed, I had to take methotrexate to stop cell division. My HCG numbers were crawling upwards, but absolutely not to the point that it could've at all been a viable pregnancy. It took at least two weeks to confirm (which was the worst period of the entire journey), because he didn't want to call it too soon. My number never went above 400 though, so they couldn't see anything on an ultrasound, but with the numbers creeping up, cell division was happening somewhere, and we needed to end it in case it was an eptopic pregnancy. I then had to wait until my HCG numbers came back down to 0 for us to begin discussing how to best move forward. I was very frustrated because I'd transferred PGS tested embryo and it implanted, so I didn't understand why the pregnancy wasn't successful. Dr Williams explained that I was in a very low percentage of people that unfortunately experience a chemical pregnancy for an unknown reason.
4. FET #2: I used the same protocol as FET #1, but added Lovenox 40mg/0.4ml mg/dl - Injection. His reasoning was that it could potentially help, but certainly couldn't hurt. And he knew I wanted to do something more in hopes of a successful outcome with FET #2. This one worked! I stayed on PIO and estrogen through Week 10 of my pregnancy. I went for weekly visits with Dr Williams through Week 12.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Daniel Williams at Houston Fertility Institute.
IUI's (including medications covered by insurance): $1700
IVF (including medications covered by insurance, egg retrieval, FET #1 and monitoring): $13k
PGS Testing: $5k
FET #2 (including medications covered by insurance and monitoring): $5k
Describe Daniel Williams's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Houston Fertility Institute.
I preferred a single transfer as I did not want to chance having multiples, so there was never a debate as to how many to transfer. He preferred transferring a single embryo, as did I.