How was your experience with Althea O'Shaughnessy at Conceptions Reproductive Associates?
Dr. O is very smart and that is apparent in the initial meeting with her. She has a lot of experience in her field. My husband and I appreciate this aspect of her and that she gives you information bluntly and will answer all your questions. The reason for my negative ranking is as follows: She is very opinionated, knows what she is thinks is best and wants to stick to that plan only. Some examples of scenarios where we disagreed and we were met with opposition are the following. 1. We denied karyotype genetic testing during our initial testing because as believers in Jesus we would not change our plans to try to conceive naturally or transfer an embryo based on a positive result of having a higher chance of having a child with multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis, or other perceived "genetic abnormalities" (Dr. O was very aggressive in pushing back and challenging this decision and that there are options to test embryos so that we wouldn't have a child with CF - which entails testing an embryo and then throwing it away if it is positive with one of the "genetic abnormalities" 2. Similar to #1 we do not want to do PGS testing in a potential IVF round for similar reasons that relate to our strong beliefs about the value of life and Dr. O's views on this are very apparent from the beginning (She wants to create and transfer ONE genetically perfect embryo for highest chances of success) 3. She is very strict about only doing a frozen transfer and only transferring one embryo at a time (we would prefer to transfer 2 embryos at a time due to the desire to not do PGS testing and we do understand that there is a high likelihood that 50% of embryos will be abnormal and either miscarry or not implant altogether but we are committed to transferring all potential embryos at some point in our life). I mainly feel that my personal faith based beliefs are not respected by Dr. O. I do understand she has gone through a lot of education and is aware of all the statistics and best practices but as Christians I care about more than just the "best practice" and want to move forward in a way that honors what I know is true about the value and gift of life. I don't mind that she presents all the facts but I do wish we were treated differently with regards to our views. For all these reasons, I would caution my best friend of going to Dr. O due to her aggressive, and sometimes hostile nature, regarding anything that does not align with the "medical best practices" of genetic testing and selective embryo transfers. As previously mentioned, there was some confusion around if I was truly diagnosed with PCOS or not and I dot not understand why she wasn't blunt about this from the beginning like she is with all of her other information that she delivers.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Althea O'Shaughnessy at Conceptions Reproductive Associates?
Be prepared with a list of questions to ask her and be well researched. She really appreciated that I knew the language and had done preliminary research on testing and treatments. When she walks you through an IUI or IVF process she talks quickly and matter of factually so you could get lost in all the details if you haven't at least read about it or discussed it with someone before. Also you can be blunt back to her and hold your ground if you have strong opinion or convictions about any part of this process. I strongly recommend researching the moral and ethical implications that accompany certain fertility treatments so that you know what you are agreeing to.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Althea O'Shaughnessy at Conceptions Reproductive Associates?
Dr. O read our chart and knew our specific information, stats, etc., however, she was very concerned with best medical practice and putting us into a treatment routine. We fell outside the norm due to our convictions as Christians and we were challenged regularly such as genetic testing. In addition, there was a lack of directness about diagnosing me with PCOS. The first meeting after our testing she said I had similarities but not a diagnosis then later on the nurse told me I had PCOS. During our last meeting, I asked her pointedly and she finally confirmed that I did in fact have PCOS after skirting around the topic slightly.
Describe the protocols Althea O'Shaughnessy used in your cycles at Conceptions Reproductive Associates and their degree of success.
My husband's SA came back with low morphology at 1% (everything else was great!) and he started using Theralogix's conception XR as prescribed.
Dr. O recommended using Letrozole instead of Clomid for medicated IUIs because I have a high resting follicle count (later officially diagnosed as PCOS) and they believed I would easily hyper stimulate.
IUI Cycle #1: 5 mg of Letrozole (or Femara), CD 12 sonogram - L ovary: 18 mm R ovary: 18 mm, triggered at 9:30 pm, IUI 36 hours later on CD 14, sperm (post wash): 34.7 million, motility 89%, prometrium CD 16 through pregnancy test 14 days post IUI. Negative pregnancy test.
IUI Cycle #2: 5 mg of Letrozole (or Femara) CD 12 sonogram - L ovary: 16 mm, 15 mm. 12 mm R ovary: 22 mm, triggered at 9:30 pm, IUI 36 hours later on CD 14, sperm (post wash): 18.4 million, motility 88%, prometrium CD 16 through pregnancy test 14 days post IUI. Negative pregnancy test.
IUI Cycle #3: 5 mg of Letrozole (or Femara) CD 11 sonogram - L ovary: 17 mm, 12 mm R ovary: 19 mm, 15mm and 13 mm triggered at 9:30 pm on CD12, IUI 36 hours later on CD 14, sperm (post wash): 25.8 million, motility 92%, prometrium CD 16 through pregnancy test 14 days post IUI. Negative pregnancy test.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Conceptions Reproductive Associates. (Assigned nurse: Kelsey)
My assigned nurse was very nice and seemed very organized. My main issues with the nursing staff came from when my nurse (who works PT) was out of the office and I worked with Channing. She is very nice but not very organized. With my 1st IUI, Kelsey had preliminary told me that she would trigger me the day of my ultrasound if I had a follicle at 20 mm but she was out of the office the day of this ultrasound and Channing recommended I trigger that evening with two 18 mm follicles. In addition, my lining was slightly thin and no one mentioned this until after the cycle. After a failed 1st IUI, Kelsey said she would have done a few things differently and would have triggered me one day later and potentially put me on estrace to thicken my lining. Every cycle is so differnt so the next cycle I was put on estrace the day of my ultrasound but I had one follicle at 22 mm and my acupuncturist immediately thought that I should have done an IUI within 12-24 hours because I probably ovulated sooner, which was apparent because my pregnancy test date was 13 days post IUI. There were a few times I needed something and Kelsey was out of the office (she is PT) and Channing was supposed to call me back and either didn't or would at the very end of the day. I just felt like I was getting conflicting answers from the nurses or if Kelsey was out then I wasn't a priority to the other nurses. They are all very nice in conversation. There were several times where I took notes and had to remind them of certain things (like re-testing my husband's semen and vitamin D after taking supplements). It just felt like they weren't as detail oriented and these tests are expensive and very important to patients even if it is not IVF.
Describe your experience with Conceptions Reproductive Associates.
I love that if you call this clinic (the Denver office) someone answers the phone and there is no automated messaging! It is so nice and refreshing. The facilities (Denver and Littleton) were both very nice and clean. My biggest frustrations had to do with the billing office. There was a scenario where they overcharged me for a HSG by $560 after months of waiting on the bill from my insurance. I wasn't able to make a new cycle appointment unless it was paid which I did reluctantly even though I told them I could see on my insurance side that I owed less than what they stated. After I sent my EOB after our phone call, I was told I had a credit on my account and I could either wait for the statement to cut once that month and get a check or use to pay future bills. I also just had a really hard time following their billing statements and the personnel I spoke with were often sassy or annoyed with me.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Althea O'Shaughnessy at Conceptions Reproductive Associates.
Initial fertility testing (with some insurance coverage): $1,100
Each IUI cycle:
CD1-3 ultrasound and bloodwork (out of pocket): $402.16
Letrozole: $10 (with Good RX coupon)
CD12 ultrasound (out of pocket): $167.20
Trigger shot: $92 (Mandell's specialty pharmacy)
IUI (out of pocket): $353.76
Prometrium: $30ish (With Good RX coupon)
Describe Althea O'Shaughnessy's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Conceptions Reproductive Associates.
I have not decided yet if we will move forward with IVF at this clinic or at all, however, see previous comments regarding initial discussions regarding genetic testing and selective embryos.
What specific things went wrong at Conceptions Reproductive Associates?
- Failed to call with results
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information