How was your experience with Anne Steiner at UNC Fertility?
Dr. Steiner is very direct and research-driven. The fact that she continues to conduct research on faculty at a major institution is one of the elements that led myself and my husband to seek her care. If you are looking for a super-compassionate, empathetic doctor, she may not be for you. She cares, and will demonstrate that at times, but not during every interaction. She could be short with a response on occasion, but generally gave me the information I was looking for.
Dr. Steiner was convinced that ovulation induction was the only treatment we would need, and told us she would comfortably continue that regimen for six or more months. We progressed to IUI only at my request. After four cycles, none of which resulted in a pregnancy or chemical pregnancy, we relocated, and began with a new doctor. Should we have stayed in the area, I may have sought a more aggressive doctor.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Anne Steiner at UNC Fertility?
Don't be afraid to ask questions. You'll need to assert yourself a little bit, as Dr. Steiner is a very seasoned specialist and will give you a full run-down of your diagnosis and case without pausing.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Anne Steiner at UNC Fertility?
During our consultation and follow-up appointment, Dr. Steiner took her time with us, explaining treatment and general fertility concepts in a clear manner. She remembered our details at every interaction, and her care felt personalized for the case we presented.
Describe the protocols Anne Steiner used in your cycles at UNC Fertility and their degree of success.
I have a history of irregular or absent periods. Dr. Steiner prescribed 2.5 mgs of letrozole (Femara) on cycle days 3-7, with an ultrasound to check progress on day 13. Each cycle produced one or more mature follicles, and after the ultrasound, we did a trigger shot (Ovidrel) at home that evening. For the first three cycles, we had timed intercourse around the ovulation window. For the fourth and final cycle, we went in for an IUI 36 hours after the trigger shot.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
I didn't have much interaction with the nurses, as I wasn't doing IVF. In general, they were pleasant, and responsive via portal messages.
Describe your experience with UNC Fertility.
There are a few aspects of the clinic I wish I had known about before beginning treatment. UNC is a teaching clinic. It will most likely be fellows (students in their fellowship years) who perform most of your ultrasounds. At times, this was (literally) uncomfortable. I have a retroverted uterus, and the first fellow to do a transvaginal ultrasound on me had a lot of difficulty finding her way around. Unlike many teaching hospitals/clinics, the practice's physicians will not ask your permission beforehand to have the fellow observe or even perform the ultrasound. After the uncomfortable ultrasound, I preemptively requested a practice physician when checking in for my next one. Later, at another ultrasound, an unsupervised fellow gave me misinformation and tried to cancel our IUI (she was under the impression that the clinic only did IUI cycles with multiple follicles, while Dr. Steiner was aiming for me to have one mature follicle).
The method of communication, at least as a patient of Dr. Steiner's, is strictly through portal messaging. I was never able to speak on the phone with Dr. Steiner, and 90% of the time, responses on the portal came from a nurse. This I imagine is typical for correspondence having to do with refills, etc., but when I wanted to pass on some information regarding my short period, I was told to book a follow-up appointment, which seemed unnecessary.
I would also add that nurses perform the IUIs. This may not be uncommon, but took me by surprise.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Anne Steiner at UNC Fertility.
For ovulation induction, medication was about $110 per cycle, and each cycle required one monitoring ultrasound which cost about $270. The IUI was about $700. My HSG was about $400. The initial consultation was about $400, and the follow-up with Dr. Steiner was about $340. Insurance did not cover anything, but gave us discounts because the clinic was in-network.
What specific things went wrong at UNC Fertility?
- Provided conflicting information
- Lost or damaged samples
Describe the specific things that went wrong at UNC Fertility.
The clinic incorrectly washed my husband's semen sample for our IUI. When a nurse initially started to take us back to a room for the procedure, she was caught by another nurse, who told her it was not time yet. We were then sent back to the waiting area, where we sat in terrible suspense for about an hour. Finally, about two hours after the scheduled procedure time, Dr. Steiner came out, and told us that she was not happy with the sample's numbers after the lab first sent it back, and had them "re-wash" it, to boost numbers. My husband has no male fertility issues, so she knew the low numbers were the result of a poor job. I don't know enough about "washing" to understand how this re-washing could work, but best-case scenario, it put us through a bit of emotional turmoil. In the worst-case scenario, my appointment was two hours after the time we booked to coincide with 36 hours after a trigger shot, so ovulation timing was off, and the sample may have not been as... perky as we'd like.