Describe your experience with UCLA.
This clinic is within UCLA - Los Angeles. It is large. They have doctor's in every field. They have three buildings. The clinic is within one of the OBGYN suites on the second floor of the main medical plaza. It is busy and always filled with people. But, at least everything you need is all in one place.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Kathleen Brennan at UCLA?
Over the last (nearly) 3 years, Dr. Brennan and I built a good doctor-patient relationship. When she walks in the room and sees me during an appointment, I believe she sees me and not just another patient on her queue .
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
They greet you with a smile when they bring you in. They take your weight, height, blood pressure and list of medications before leading you to a room. I usually make small talk with them since I see them with unusual frequency. They are receptive to small talk. After you see Dr. Brennan they also greet you with a smile on your way out.
How was your experience with Kathleen Brennan at UCLA?
I initially sought Dr. Brennan because I had experienced a miscarriage in late 2015 and had not conceived again since. I wanted to be sure the pregnancy wasn't a rare occurrence and could happen again. She ordered all the necessary tests and told me I shouldn't have a problem getting pregnant (or maintaining a pregnancy). However, it had been over a year since my pregnancy and she wanted to move forward. We decided to perform our first natural cycle IUI and conceived on the first try. Dr. Brennan monitored the pregnancy and performed an ultrasound each appointment. Unfortunately, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage as well. But, Dr. Brennan continued to encourage treatment to get pregnant again. I did two more IUI's (with clomid) afterwards, but did not conceive. I conceived my last pregnancy naturally (no IUI), and Dr. Brennan monitored the pregnancy and performed an ultrasound each appointment again. She monitored me until my 12 week appointment, where I chose to continue the pregnancy with a regular. Unfortunately, the fetus was later diagnosed (via CVS) with Turner's Syndrome and I miscarried that pregnancy as well. I recently spoke with Dr. Brennan again and we now both agree that IVF treatment is my best option (with PGS testing). Treatment will begin in 2019 (G-d willing). I am very happy with Dr. Brennan and her care.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Kathleen Brennan at UCLA?
At first, it may feel like you are just another patient. However, Dr. Brennan will take care of you. She will mourn with you if you experience a loss, but as a Doctor she is ready to move on faster than you are. She genuinely wants her patients to be happy - which means getting her patients pregnant with a healthy child, as quickly as humanely possible. She will explain things to you - but if you are not clear, ask. She is happy to explain - but needs to know you be clear.
Describe the protocols Kathleen Brennan used in your cycles at UCLA and their degree of success.
When we decided to perform our first natural cycle IUI, I was told to take ovulation tests to be accurate regarding my ovulation day. Once I had a positive ovulation test result, I would notify Dr. Brennan's office and schedule the appointment for insemination. My husband would go first in the morning and provide his sperm sample. 90 Minutes later, once the sperm is washed, I would go in for the IUI. After the procedure, she told me to continue laying down for another 10-20 minutes before I got up. Also, advised me that chances of conception increased if my husband and I engaged in intercourse that night and following night. Dr. Brennan monitored the pregnancy and performed an ultrasound each appointment. Unfortunately, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage.
But, Dr. Brennan continued to encourage treatment to get pregnant again. She wanted to have me conceive again, but this time with clomid so that ovulation timing was more precise (due to the trigger shot). The first Clomid cycle I think was with 50 mg (a low dose?), since she did not want to risk me conceiving multiples (she believed a singleton pregnancy was best, as twins are a higher risk pregnant. However, if I did happen to conceive twins she would take the opportunity to observe if once develops normally and one does not). I took the 5 tablets of Clomid (1 each day for 5 days, I believe) and then performed the trigger shot on myself, the day before the IUI procedure. The day of the procedure was the same as above (natural cycle IUI). After the procedure, she told me to continue laying down for another 10-20 minutes before I got up. Also, advised me that chances of conception increased if my husband and I engaged in intercourse that night and following night. I did not conceive.
The second IUI cycle was with 75 mg of Clomid. Dr. Brennan still believed that I was at low risk for conceiving multiples - but was also not completely averse to it either. The higher dosage of Clomid was to increase the size of the follicles before the trigger shot was administered. The remaining steps were identical to the first Clomid IUI cycle. I did not conceive.
I conceived my last pregnancy naturally (no IUI) - 4-5 months after my last IUI cycle with Clomid. Dr. Brennan monitored the pregnancy (confirmed it via blood test first) and performed an ultrasound each appointment again. She monitored me until my 12 week appointment, where I chose to continue the pregnancy with a regular OBGYN. Unfortunately, the fetus was later diagnosed (via CVS) with Turner's Syndrome and I miscarried that pregnancy as well (natural miscarriage).
I spoke with Dr. Brennan about two weeks ago and we now both agree that IVF treatment is my best option (with PGS testing). She and I cannot figure out why my last 3 pregnancies have all ended in miscarriage. We both agree that by doing IVF we can then test all embryo's produced before implantation - therefore significantly reducing the chances of miscarriage. Have not started treatment as of yet due to lack of funding - but there is a plan in place.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Kathleen Brennan at UCLA.
All 3 IUI's were paid out of pocket - my health insurance didn't cover the costs. The IUI procedure was discounted since we paid the entire amount up front, but was only done for the first IUI. The first IUI cycle cost me about $300 in total - since it was only the procedure, and no medications were required. The IUI cycles I did with Clomid (2) cost about $500 - $600 each with medications. All prenatal care was covered by my health insurance and only required a co-pay. IVF is also not covered by my health insurance and I will have to pay completely out of pocket. The IVF in it's entirety (for 1 egg retrieval cycle) and including PGS testing will cost an estimated $25,000.
Describe Kathleen Brennan's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at UCLA.
Dr. Brennan and I agreed that eSET is the best option. She believes that multiples in a pregnancy pose a higher risk. For my particular case, only one embryo will be transferred at a time per cycle. Considering that during egg retrieval - it is estimated they will retrieve enough eggs after one retrieval. After the eggs are fertilized and tested via PGS, we expect to have a comfortable number of embryo's to transfer.