How was your experience with Scot Hutchison at Reproductive Health Center?
Dr. Hutchison is very thorough and patient, and an educator at heart. We came to him prior to beginning treatment and after consulting with the other two REs in town. He did a complete review of my file and suggested we repeat the HSG procedure as a result of complications with my previous test. He explained the how and why of what he wanted to do and we decided on the spot to pursue an IUI cycle. He listened to my concerns about my menstrual cycle and adjusted my medications for the IUI cycle accordingly.
Later we moved on to IVF and completed two retrieval cycles. Based on my age, health, and test results we all expected a great result from the first cycle, but I under-performed. In our followup consultation Dr. Hutchison was compassionate and receptive to my desire to do a second cycle right away, with changes to protocol. As a result my dosages were increased and a steroid added. When the second cycle resulted in a similar outcome, we were given the option to do a third retrieval or proceed with a transfer. When we chose to proceed with the transfer, he was again receptive to concerns we had about the protocol and open to a natural cycle FET.
In general, I felt like I was given options at every step and the decision left up to me and my husband. We never felt rushed or pushed into a course of treatment. I was very active in understanding our treatment and making decisions about our care, and felt heard. In our experience, Dr. Hutchison is not one to tell you what to do which may work well for some but not others.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Scot Hutchison at Reproductive Health Center?
Do your homework and ask lots of questions. There are endless variations to ART treatments and he was always happy to listen to my questions and explain his position on various topics based on current research. I appreciated that during our treatment he was actively attending industry conferences and teaching others (often other doctors were shadowing him at my appointments) and that as a result he sometimes changed our treatment plan accordingly.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Scot Hutchison at Reproductive Health Center?
The clinic is a small family practice and I developed a good relationship with the doctor, my IVF coordinator (Holly) and the front office staff (Carol). I was always greeted by name and staff would ask about my husband by name when he was not with me. We would also talk about my work or vacations we had taken.
Describe the protocols Scot Hutchison used in your cycles at Reproductive Health Center and their degree of success.
For our IUI cycle I took 5mg Femara (Letrozole) on cycle days 3-7 and used an Ovidrel trigger. I had never used Clomid and he advised against it based on evidence of a luteal phase defect.
For our first retrieval cycle I was on a fairly typical regimen of birth control for several weeks followed by 11 days of Follistim and Menopur at relatively low doses (150IU and 75IU). I used a dual trigger (hCG and Lupron). We retrieved 10 eggs, 5 of which were mature and fertilized with ICSI. 2 were biopsied and frozen on day 6 and deemed PGS normal.
We chose to do a second retrieval to hopefully bank more embryos and repeated the protocol with the following changes: Menopur was increased to 150IU, 1mg of Dexamethasone was added, and we triggered with Lupron only due to higher estrogen levels. Despite the changes and promising scans and blood work, we retrieved 10 eggs again. This time 6 were mature and fertilized with ICSI, but only 1 was biopsied and frozen on day 6. It was also PGS normal.
Prior to attempting a transfer, we were encouraged to do an endometrial receptivity test and thus did a mock cycle. After discussion with both Dr. Hutchison and Holly we were approved to do a natural cycle even though a medicated cycle is more common. I was closely monitored for my LH surge and took only supplemental (vaginal) progesterone during the cycle. The test results were receptive and we continued straight into an elective single embryo transfer cycle using the same natural cycle protocol.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Reproductive Health Center. (Assigned nurse: Holly)
I worked primarily with Holly, the clinic's IVF coordinator (and the doctor's sister!). She was extremely patient with my endless research and questions, and made herself available by email and text message. She was there for nearly all of my ultrasounds and blood draws, and particularly good with a butterfly needle. I really felt that she was invested in my case. She was very positive and encouraging and advised me as if I were her daughter on many occasions.
When Holly was unavailable, Pamela did my blood draws and was also very kind.
Describe your experience with Reproductive Health Center.
The clinic is small and personable. They do not have every possible bell and whistle of some other clinics (HSGs are done off site, there is no online patient portal) but their pricing is beyond fair. I never once had a problem with records or billing, and only occasionally had to remind staff about a detail of my case. I think it's important to realize this is a small family practice with only one RE, so they do close for the holidays and at select other times in the year. Being a small practice, they also do retrievals in monthly batches which sometimes means waiting to start a cycle. However, I was always treated like a person rather than a number, and the doctor personally did all of my procedures, including ultrasounds.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Scot Hutchison at Reproductive Health Center.
The cost of a medicated and monitored IUI cycle was $540, plus the cost of meds (~$100). The cost of our first retrieval cycle was $6,800 which included the $800 fee to biopsy our embryos for PGS testing. The actual PGS testing was handled by Progenesis at a cost of $350 per embryo plus shipping. Our second retrieval cycle was discounted to $4000. We did not do a third, but it would have been $3000. Between our first and second cycles they began charging a credit card processing fee. For our ERA cycle we paid a specialist copay to our insurance for each monitoring and the biopsy, as well as $600 to Igenomix for the testing. Our transfer cycle was included in the price of our retrieval cycles so there were no additional charges for the monitoring appointments or the transfer itself. If you elect not to do PGS, there is a $1000 fee for transfer. Our only other costs were $350 to bank a sperm sample for back up, and $350/year for embryo storage beginning the July after retrieval.
Describe Scot Hutchison's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Reproductive Health Center.
From the beginning it was clear to us that the clinic favors eSET of PGS tested embryos. We did have one conversation where the possibility of transferring our two lowest graded embryos together was presented, but we decided against it due to a family history of preeclampsia and a desire to give each embryo a chance.
What specific things went wrong at Reproductive Health Center?
- Failed to inform you of changes in protocol
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Reproductive Health Center.
I had only one small issue with protocol communication-- during my first cycle, both of my injections were taken together at night. During the second cycle, they were separated into AM and PM doses which was written on my protocol chart but not verbally called out at the start of the cycle, and so I didn't realize until day 3. I share in the blame for assuming I knew what I was doing rather than reading my paperwork carefully, but it would have been nice to have the change emphasized.