How was your experience with Emily Jungheim at Washington University School of Medicine?
Dr. Jungheim has the exact bedside manner that I love. She is warm, friendly, compassionate, and deeply caring. Also, as a scientist, I wanted to know the research that exists about treatment options, and Dr. Jungheim was honest and forthright about the research that is out there and the research that has yet to be done. She approaches treatment from an evidence based perspective, which is important to me. And she was honest. If I asked a question to which there wasn't any good research out there to provide an answer, she would tell me so. When there was truly no way to know the biological reason our first IVF cycle didn't work, she was honest about that and told me so. I hear stories of other doctors telling patients guesses as to why things worked a certain way, when there is actually no real way for them to know. Some patients find comfort in that, but that is not what I want. I want a doctor who does not have inflated confidence about what they know, and is informed about the actual research to give me that information. She even pointed me to the original research articles, so I could read them myself. Dr. Jungheim is fantastic. If I move away from St. Louis and need to do IVF again, I plan to go back to her!
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Emily Jungheim at Washington University School of Medicine?
Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. She will take the time for you.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Emily Jungheim at Washington University School of Medicine?
Dr. Jungheim was warm and seemed so invested in our story. She would take the time (sometimes over an hour) to meet with us and talk us through every detail of the procedures and possible outcomes The staff at the clinic were also very nice and friendly and would clearly remember me. I got to know some of the staff pretty well and we would chat about my work and their lives.
Describe the protocols Emily Jungheim used in your cycles at Washington University School of Medicine and their degree of success.
We have unexplained infertility, which led us to start with IUI. When that didn't work, we moved on to IVF. My first cycle was an antagonist protocol, which was chosen for several reasons. One is that it is one of the most successful protocols for unexplained infertility in my age group at this clinic. Another is that I had a huge needle phobia, and this protocol involves fewer injections compared to the other option she would consider. We also did what they call "partial" ICSI. Since there were no known male factor issues or egg quality issues for us, the clinic used ICSI on half of my eggs in order to test the fertilization rate for ICSI vs. not. It turned out that the fertilization rate was equal, so it didn't seem that ICSI was truly necessary for us. Many clinics automatically do ICSI no matter what, however, there are some small risks of doing ICSI if you don't need to. So, this partial ICSI approach is like an experiment to see if I needed it, which would be useful for future decisions if this cycle didn't work. Then, the clinic watches the embryos and makes a decision on day 3 as to whether to do a day 3 or day 5 transfer of 1 or 2 embryos. They have certain criteria that they want to meet in order to push the transfer to day 5. I did not meet that criteria, so we transferred 2 embryos on day 3. Unfortunately, this cycle failed.
The second cycle chosen was a long agonist protocol with Lupron. I also inquired about an endometrial scratch test. Dr. Jungheim told me that the evidence for the scratch is strictly correlational right now, but promising. In fact, the clinic was conducting a clinical trial to test the efficacy of the scratch at that time. Dr. Jungheim told me that if I wanted to do the scratch, I certainly could. So, I did. Ouchie. Then, we did not use ICSI this cycle given the fertilization rate of the previous cycle. And we had the same rate of fertilization. Again, the embryos did not meet criteria for a day 5 transfer, so we transferred 2 embryos on day 3. This cycle worked!!! We now have a 7.5 month old son, who is the light of our lives.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Washington University School of Medicine. (Assigned nurse: Lori, but I think she is gone now)
I did not love my nurse. But I am pretty sure she is not there anymore. And I have heard that the new nurse is great.
Describe your experience with Washington University School of Medicine.
This clinic uses a team approach. So, Dr. Jungheim was my primary doctor who I met with for consultations and corresponded with about my treatment plan and results. But, she was not the doctor who performed the embryo retrieval and transfer. Instead, it is the doctor who is on call for that week who performs the procedures. I had Dr. Ratts and Dr. Odem and they were both great. So, if you are comfortable with that type of approach, this would work for you. The thing I like about it is that you effectively get 5 second opinions because the team meets every week to discuss their patients and make decisions. After my first IVF cycle failed, they met to discuss the next steps for me. I liked knowing that I was getting 5 opinions in addition to Dr. Jungheim's.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Washington University School of Medicine.
I conveniently could do monitoring appointments right before work. It operated well. Sometimes I wouldn't have to wait at all, sometimes I'd have to wait 10 minutes. The techs who did the monitoring were great.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Emily Jungheim at Washington University School of Medicine.
Each IUI cost $400, and each round of IVF cost ~$15,000
Describe Emily Jungheim's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Washington University School of Medicine.
The Washington University clinic as a whole wants to avoid multiples while maximizing live births. So they make decisions about the number of embryos to transfer based on each individual case, and I think they make very good decisions. We transferred 2 embryos and ended up with a singleton pregnancy, so I am very glad we didn't transfer 1.