How was your experience with Lisa Hansard at Texas Fertility Center?
Dr. Hansard may be a good fit for patients who want a doctor to take complete charge and not have to think about the course of treatment they're on. If you're a patient who needs to ask questions and actively participate in your health decisions, however, I strongly advise against Dr. Hansard.
First, she presents some medical information as absolute certainty when it isn't. For example, while she was emphatic that a hormonal IUD would absolutely not impact egg retrieval outcome, numerous studies (and also my ob-gyn) say the research is more mixed. I didn't learn this until it was too late for me to remove my IUD; I would have much preferred to make an informed decision based on a more nuanced presentation of the information.
Second, she reacts extremely defensively and unprofessionally to even the smallest questions about treatment. For example, she told me that the hormone-stimulating medications she'd placed me on would not exacerbate my endometriosis. I asked "are you sure?" (really, that's all I said) and she responded very angrily that she "did not go to twelve years of medical school to not be sure," and that she took this question to mean that I was "challenging her education level." (Later, I received a second opinion on this question from a leading endometriosis/fertility doctor in Houston, who said that the meds Dr. Hansard had given me could, in fact, make endometriosis worse.) Before I chose Dr. Hansard as my doctor, I wrote her to say that I was a patient who needed to ask questions and do my own research as a way of coping with my health anxiety and because of my career background as a journalist/researcher. During the confrontation I just described, I reminded her of this email--I'd been very upfront about my needs as a patient, and had tried to make sure we'd be a good fit. She responded: "well, there are questions and then there are questions."
She and her staff frequently provided me with contradictory information about my treatment plan, and then totally reversed course at the very last minute because either she or her nurse misread an email I'd written about my health history: The day before I was to start my birth control pills - after months of Dr. Hansard telling me that I didn't need to monitor my ovulation cycle - her nurse asked me if I had a family history of blood clots (something, of course, that they could have asked when they were developing my treatment plan). I told the nurse that my father had had a blood clot in his leg, but that I wasn't sure if it constituted a history or not and that I would check. He said his blood clot was injury-related, and didn't constitute a family history (he's a neurologist, so would know). I wrote the nurse this exact information the very next morning. Dr. Hansard changed the treatment plan anyways.... and suddenly it was a course of treatment that DID depend on my ovulation cycle, and that we were basically just guessing on. On my last visit with Dr. Hansard, during the fight I mentioned above, I told her that the treatment reversal had really shaken me up .She responded that she'd changed course because of my family's history of blood clots. I reminded her of my emails to the nurse. She looked back through my chart, seeming to read the emails, and then - instead of apologizing - said, "you should never bring up a family history of blood clots if you don't have one." Somehow, she managed to blame me for a misread email.
Ultimately, a few days before my egg retrieval surgery, the nurses called to tell me that Dr. Hansard had decided to go on a last-minute vacation. The doctor that performed my surgery, Natalie Burger, was much kinder and actually came back to the outpatient facility after I learned that my surgery had essentially failed (four eggs when we'd expected at least eight...) and took time to answer my questions and explain things to me, something Dr. Hansard never did.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Lisa Hansard at Texas Fertility Center?
A lot of ob-gyns say she's the best in town.... there are other good fertility doctors in Austin and other parts of the country, though, so I would pay serious attention to your instincts and go with someone else if you're not getting a good vibe from her, and know that you need a doctor who will really talk through things with you and field your questions without taking offense.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Lisa Hansard at Texas Fertility Center?
During our first consultation, when Dr. Hansard was doing my ultrasound, she rattled off words and numbers to the nurse and never spoke to me directly. She then told me to get dressed and left the room. I assumed she would come back to tell me what everything meant, but she never did. At checkout, I tried to ask her to explain the results to me, and she said to contact her nurse. I then had to call and email the nurse a bunch of times to even learn what was on my ultrasound. Forget getting an explanation of what those numbers meant as far as fertility / egg retrieval outcome goes... I guess the nurse didn't want to scare me? I ultimately had to do my own research online. This was the first of many bad experiences with Dr. Hansard. I wish I'd listened to my instincts and gone to a different doctor, but my ob-gyn told me she was the best in town.
Describe the protocols Lisa Hansard used in your cycles at Texas Fertility Center and their degree of success.
I don't remember, unfortunately. It's been 18 months.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Texas Fertility Center.
The nurse didn't seem to understand the procedure I was undergoing, and was very cagey with me about what my test results meant. It felt like I had to play investigative reporter to get clear responses from her. While the buck ultimately stops with the physician, it may also be the case that the nurse misrepresented my medical history to Dr. Hansard, resulting in the last-minute change in medications/procedure. I ultimately asked to change nurses, and was given a nurse who was much more knowledgeable / a better communicator. I'm sorry I don't remember their names.
Describe your experience with Texas Fertility Center.
They seem to have a fairly streamlined, efficient process. They're clearly a well-run clinic on the business/paperwork side of things. Doesn't make up for poor medical care, of course. Egg retrieval + storage cost ~ $15,000.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Lisa Hansard at Texas Fertility Center.
Roughly $11,000 for egg retrieval treatment + $4000 for first few years of storage.
What specific things went wrong at Texas Fertility Center?
- Failed to call with results
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information