How was your experience with Deidre Downs Gunn at University of Alabama Birmingham?
Dr. Gunn walked me through everything we were doing, why we were doing it, and the expectations/risks with each approach. I appreciate that she takes the time to meet with patients so often instead of a few times a year like some other practices. She is very involved which made me feel even more like she was making great decisions for us along the way.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Deidre Downs Gunn at University of Alabama Birmingham?
She will explain things, but bring questions with you. She is so kind and happy to answer ALL of them. I never felt silly asking about things I didn't fully understand. She is a great communicator.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Deidre Downs Gunn at University of Alabama Birmingham?
Dr. Gunn and Dr. Von Hoffe always took the time to explain things and answer my questions. I never felt like they were trying to rush to the next appointment and I always left feeling like all of my questions were answered.
Describe the protocols Deidre Downs Gunn used in your cycles at University of Alabama Birmingham and their degree of success.
I started with Dr. Gunn after moving from another clinic. I explained I wanted to be more aggressive with treatments as I had previously done 5 nights of 5.0 mg of Letrozole and 150 of Follistim for 3 nights. I was only getting 1 mature egg each cycle and had been doing this combo for several months. She reviewed my charts and agreed we could try this approach to increase the doses. My doses were upped to 7.5 mg of Letrozole and 175 of Follistim. Unfortunately I responded too well and had 7-9 eggs mature that cycle and we had to cancel. We returned to the lower dose and tried it combined with an IUI. Negative pregnancy test. Did the same again and had 2 eggs mature that cycle, another IUI, but another negative pregnancy test. It was at this time that we discussed IVF. Our first attempt was cancelled before medications were started because my estrogen levels were too high. Our second attempt, my levels were high again but we tried to move forward and monitor closely. Dr. Gunn directly called me to talk through the changes she was making to our plan and how we would closely monitor everything. She did exactly that, but unfortunately not enough eggs matured to the right size, and she decided to cancel the retrieval. This decision was hard but instead of just taking our money and trying for the retrieval, she recognized it wouldn't be a very successful retrieval and would be better to cancel and start over later. We are currently in the wait to try our 3rd attempt.
Describe your experience with your nurse at University of Alabama Birmingham. (Assigned nurse: Tabitha)
Once you start the IVF process, you will work with the IVF coordinator, which allows you one point person for all of your questions, concerns, scheduling, etc. She was quick to respond and always passed along questions to the doctor when they needed to be escalated.
Describe your experience with University of Alabama Birmingham.
Very organized set up, sometimes a little bit longer wait, but honestly I never minded because when they are meeting with you they don't rush you in and out the door, and I know that's the way they are treating another patient and likely why there is a delay.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Deidre Downs Gunn at University of Alabama Birmingham.
Unfortunately my insurance does not cover any appointments so these were out of pocket expenses for me personally. However, they have never demanded that we pay the full balance and we have made small payments each month towards our bill. The IVF costs are pretty comparable to other clinics in the area, however, the way they have it set up takes a lot of stress off the process. You pay for retrieval costs, and can add in ICSI or Genetic Testing, then you pay per transfer. Another clinic I worked with packaged it all together and you only had 1, 2, or 3 chances and total costs reflected. So if you had a ton of embryos left, but had used up your number of transfers, you owed even more money. UAB approaches the retrieval process with the mindset that they hope you will only ever do 1 retrieval to build your entire family. Instead of retrieving each time you are ready to try for another child.
Describe Deidre Downs Gunn's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at University of Alabama Birmingham.
Our clinic feels very strongly about only transferring one embryo, unless there is a outlying reason to transfer 2. The way the pricing is set up, it is much more cost effective because you pay per transfer. So it is much easier to only put 1 when you can pay per time instead of only getting 3 transfers as a part of a package or something (where you may feel more pressed to transfer more to increase chances).