Describe your experience with Washington University School of Medicine.
First I should say that we are extremely satisfied with our experience with the WUSTL Infertility and Reproductive Medicine Center. The doctors, nurses, technicians and staff are all incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. With the exception of Drs. Omurtag and Odom, all of the staff are female. Prospective patients should know that this is a very large practice with many patients; you may need to be proactive if you're the kind of person who wants to meet directly with your physician regularly. My husband and I felt very comfortable with the staff and our nurse, who was very organized and provided us with lots of detailed written and verbal instructions for our procedures, so not seeing Dr. Omurtag regularly didn't bother us. As stated elsewhere in this review, be aware that the practice doctors take turns handling IVF cases on a monthly basis, so your doctor may not perform your egg retrieval and/or embryo transfer. Your nurse remains the same throughout. Please know that although all of these procedures and protocols seem very intimidating at first, you will receive all the information you need to successfully complete your treatment. The IVF orientation is great, your nurse is available to answer any questions, and detailed information packets are provided every step of the way. If you are doing IUI, be aware that you may need to wait awhile, due to the size of the practice and the unpredictability of patients' cycles. If you do IVF, you may need to wait a cycle or two to get on the schedule. As a working mom, I appreciated that most of the office visits could be done in the morning.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Kenan Omurtag at Washington University School of Medicine?
Dr. Omurtag took the time to get to know us and ask about our older son. He and his staff were always available to answer our questions, and made us feel like we were making treatment decisions as a team. When I miscarried at 11 weeks, he happened to be at the hospital and came to see us. He was very sympathetic but also optimistic and encouraging.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Washington University School of Medicine. (Assigned nurse: Meredith Woody)
Meredith is great. She's very bubbly and upbeat. As Dr. Omurtag's nurse, she performs IUIs and is also the primary point of contact for his IVF patients. You can contact her through Dr. Omurtag's secretary and she will always get back to your quickly.
What specific things went wrong at Washington University School of Medicine?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
How was your experience with Kenan Omurtag at Washington University School of Medicine?
We really enjoyed working with Dr. Omurtag. After evaluating our histories and testing, he was very confident that we would be successful, either via IUI or IVF. We did not see Dr. Omurtag at every visit, but it was made clear to us that we could schedule an appointment to meet with him any time we needed. We had an initial meeting with him where we discussed our past pregnancy history and overall health. At this meeting, he went over our initial plan to obtain a diagnosis, including all of the testing he was ordering and when/where these procedures would be performed. Once this testing was completed, we met with him again to discuss our treatment course, which turned out to be IUI. We underwent four unsuccessful IUI cycles and then reconvened with Dr. Omurtag, who recommended proceeding with IVF. Because this was such a costly step, we asked to continue the IUI for two more cycles while we saved up the money for IVF, and he agreed. These cycles were also unsuccessful, so we met with Dr. Omurtag once again after our IVF financing was in place. At this meeting, he explained the IVF process and all of the procedures associated with it. At this practice, all IVF cases for the month are handled by a single physician on a rotating basis. This is the reason that Dr. Omurtag did not handle all of our procedures himself. However, we had a good experience with the other two physicians in the practice with whom we worked. Once we received a positive pregnancy blood work up after the fresh IVF cycle, we met with Dr. Omurtag again after our first ultrasound at 7 weeks. The baby was slightly undersized, but not alarmingly so, and Dr. Omurtag asked us to return in a week to check on the fetal growth. At that point, he felt comfortable turning us over to our OB for the remainder of the pregnancy, but encouraged us to call at any time if we had concerns, especially during the time before our first OB appointment.
When I miscarried at nearly 11 weeks, Dr. Omurtag happened to be at the hospital and stopped to see us after we got the bad news. He was very compassionate, but also made sure to express his confidence that our treatment plan was good and would result in a viable pregnancy. This was very reassuring to hear on what was the worst day of our lives.
When we were ready, we scheduled another meeting to discuss conducting a frozen cycle with our remaining embryo. Dr. Omurtag also performed a saline sonohysterogram to make sure that there were no issues that had not been visible on my HSG or other ultrasounds. He explained the differences between the fresh and frozen cycles and we proceeded (again, a different doctor performed the embryo transfer, but he was great as well). We were once again successful and transferred to the care of our OB at 8 weeks. This second pregnancy resulted in our son, born in August 2016.
During all of our appointments, Dr. Omurtag was very comprehensive and understandable in all of his explanations. We were encouraged to ask questions and interrupt him for further explanation. He made us feel very comfortable and definitely made an effort to get to know us as people. He still remembers details about us and our family, even after going 8 months without seeing us. He asked us to keep the practice posted on the outcome of the pregnancy and suggested we visit after our son was born in August 2016. Before that visit, we found out that our son is a carrier for a fatal genetic condition, and Dr. Omurtag was able to give us the basics on how we would proceed if we decide to have a third child.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Kenan Omurtag at Washington University School of Medicine?
Trust in the process. It might seem like you are going to endless appointments, tests, scans and blood draws, but they are all necessary. Remind yourself that reproduction is incredibly inefficient and accept that you may never know the exact reason for your infertility without going through multiple cycles of medication, IUI and/or IVF. There are so many factors that it may be very difficult for the docs to pinpoint the exact cause, especially in cases of secondary infertility like ours. It was a two year process, but Dr. Omurtag was a great guide and we ended up with a child, which was the goal of the exercise.
Describe the protocols Kenan Omurtag used in your cycles at Washington University School of Medicine and their degree of success.
See my response from the experience question. We came to Dr. Omurtag with secondary infertility after 6 months of ovulation testing and two cycles of Clomid performed by my OB. Treatment began with an HSG and ultrasounds and bloodwork for me and a semen analysis for my husband. I was diagnosed PCO due to a slightly elevated testosterone level and high ovarian reserve. However, I don't experience any other symptoms and all other testing was normal. Because my cycles were regular and I was ovulating, and because we had successfully conceived and carried to term on our own in the past, we decided to start with IUI. Dr. Omurtag recommended four cycles, because success rates drop off sharply after four IUIs. We ended up doing six cycles, but the last two were done to increase our slim chances of conceiving while we saved up the funds and waited for IVF availability (they only accept a certain number of IVF patients each month). I was prescribed Lupron to aid in the IUI cycles. It's been a while, so I don't remember the exact procedures and tests involved with each cycle, other than coming in for a mid-cycle ultrasound to check on follicle ripeness. When the scan was favorable, we scheduled a morning appointment for the IUI. My husband arrived early to provide a semen sample, which was analyzed and prepared and then transferred via a catheter by one of the nurses about an hour later.
When IUI proved unsuccessful, we turned to IVF. Dr. Omurtag determined that Long GnRH agonist protocol was the best fit for us. We were required to secure financing and attend a very helpful IVF orientation before proceeding. After completing the drug regimen (which included OCP, Leuprolide, FSH, and hCG trigger), we harvested 23 eggs, 19 of which were viable. Because my husband's sperm count had varied during the IUI cycles, Dr. Omurtag decided to fertilize 10 of the eggs conventionally and 9 of them with ICSI. Only one of the eggs fertilized conventionally, but all 9 of the ICSI were successful. After 3 days of growth, we had several promising embryos, so Dr. Omurtag settled on a day 5 transfer. At that point, there were three exceptionally good transfer candidates. The decision of how many (1 or 2) to transfer was left to us. We chose 2 and one of those successfully implanted.
After our miscarriage, we did a frozen cycle with our remaining embryo. Dr. Omurtag performed a saline sonohysterogram to ensure that there were no underlying physical issues with carrying a pregnancy that we might have missed previously (and to ensure that the products of the miscarriage had all been expelled). I'm unable to locate all of my paperwork from this cycle for some reason, but I know that the drug regimen was much less intense and there were fewer injectables. The frozen embryo transfer was again successful and this time I carried to term.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Kenan Omurtag at Washington University School of Medicine.
I believe each IUI cycle cost around $600. We financed the IVF cycles through ARC, where we paid $15,000 to cover a fresh and a frozen cycle. Medications were an additional expenses, but a relatively low cost with my insurance. All diagnostic testing was covered under our insurance.