How was your experience with Sahar Stephens at Northern California Fertility Medical Center?
What I appreciated most about Dr. Stephens was the ability to talk candidly with her, about our predicament, what I've researched versus what she's worked with (or seen work). She would answer without prejudice and with her honest opinion. She was intelligent and non-judgmental, which made it easier to ask questions about alternative treatment or wellness options. My only concern would be, I don't know if she was talking about only-her experience, or all of the experience from the clinic. There are several doctors and quite a number of patients, I would prefer to know that they collectively reviewed charts (since you see all the Doctors, eventually, anyway) and that your primary Dr gave you recommendations based off of their collective experience & input. Typically, more knowledge and more experience would get you better treatment, theoretically.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Sahar Stephens at Northern California Fertility Medical Center?
Don't be afraid to be inquisitive, ask questions, and understand your case. Dr Stephens is nice and will take the time to answer your questions, but she's also not going to try to inundate you with information you may not understand or care about. She will tell you about your situation and give you her recommendations, then leave space for you to talk and ask questions. Also, be prepared to see other Doctors during your clinic appointments, you're only guaranteed to see Dr Stephens during your one-on-one appointments with her.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Sahar Stephens at Northern California Fertility Medical Center?
Dr. Stephens is very straight-forward, which we appreciate. Whenever we met with her (whether in-person, or phone consult), she would go over our charts and review current standings. We always had a list of questions regarding our status, her experience and expectations from similar cases, possible options, and personnel + professional opinions. She answered all of our questions, remaining realistic and positive, without being overly optimistic. She would also discuss her recommended treatments and ensured we understood and were okay proceeding with her ideas, or if we wanted to something else.
Describe the protocols Sahar Stephens used in your cycles at Northern California Fertility Medical Center and their degree of success.
With a history of on-going birth control (Depo Provera or IUD), no past pregnancy, no other underlying issues (other than age >35) on the female side, proceeded with IUI using donor sperm. Started treatment with Clomid, with the first three IUIs varying from 2 follicles to 4 follicles. Upped the medication on rounds 4-6 to include Gonal-F, which increased the follicle count to 3-6 follicles on various attempts. Still no resulting pregnancy.
When we started IVF, I was put on birth control pills to "regulate" the period, as well as Gonal-F, Ganirelix, and Menopur. This had less than stellar results, which was four follicles, four eggs, three possible embryos, but none were viable that lasted past day 5. The next round of IVF the medication eliminated the b/c pills, added estrogen patches, and increased the Gonal-F daily dosage amount. Ganirelix and Menopur dosage remained the same. This was exponentially better, resulting in nine follicles, 14 eggs, seven embryos, 2 possible embryos (were good as of day 5), but returned from the genetics lab as known defective.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Northern California Fertility Medical Center. (Assigned nurse: Courtney)
Courtney was fantastic! She was extremely patient while teaching the dosage and how to best give injections. You'll always get her voicemail, if you call the clinic, but she answers/returns phone calls and e-mails in the same day. She'll work extra hard with the pharmacy to get the medication you need, when you need it, and if you need an extra prescription/authorization written to get approval from the insurance, she'll work with them too. SHE will be your best friend, confidante, and mentor while using NFCMC.
For the rest of the Nursing staff, they're nice & polite. The moment after you remember you need to empty your bladder before the ultrasound, and use the restroom in the lobby, is when they'll finally call your name. Every.time.
Some of the phlebotomist are better than others, you'll either leave the chair with a smile, laugh, or a bruise.
Overall, they've got a very good routine and you'll rarely wait more than 10 minutes in the lobby for your appointment. (Which is great when you're trying to fit your appointments in during your lunch break.)
Describe your experience with Northern California Fertility Medical Center.
Strengths: The office staff have a smooth routine down in the office, friendliness of the staff, tons of experience from several doctors and lots of patients, you'll get to know all of the doctors at NCFMC (they're all personable, so you can ask them questions after/ during your exam).
Weaknesses: the exam rooms are rather tight, so there's not a lot of room for your personal items or your partner. They recently moved their Roseville office into Sacramento. You'll rarely see your personal Dr (although they are available via e-mail) and scheduling appointments with your personal Doctor is 3-4 weeks out.
Good to know: NCFMC has several Doctors on staff, who have their own patients and they have a "duty" type of schedule. So they rotate, when they see their personal patients, when they are in the exam room, when they have to work the weekends/ holidays, etc. As such, you'll get to know all/most of the Doctors at NCFMC during the ultrasound visits. However, You won't see your assigned Doctor unless you schedule a one-on-one appointment, or its your lucky day when they're the one to walk into your exam room.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Sahar Stephens at Northern California Fertility Medical Center.
The clinic cost were not covered by our insurance, but some of the medications were. For the clinic, the meds, consultations, etc.; the IUI rounds were about $3,000 each and the IVF (extraction-only) were about $15,000 each.
Describe Sahar Stephens's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Northern California Fertility Medical Center.
N/A - did not have embryos to transfer. :-(