How was your experience with Eric Levens at Shady Grove Fertility?
Eric Levens is the best doctor I've ever worked with. He takes his time during appointments, genuinely cares, explains things thoroughly, and instills confidence that he is an expert in his field and will do all that he can to help his patients succeed. I feel fortunate to have him directing my treatment during a long and emotionally difficult fertility journey.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Eric Levens at Shady Grove Fertility?
Dr. Levens' schedule can fill up quickly, so if you are hoping to begin treatment within a certain timeframe, don't wait until the last minute to make an appointment. Prepare your questions in advance, and take full advantage of your consultation time. While your treatment plan will likely depend upon the outcome of initial diagnostic testing, it helps to go in with a general understanding of the treatment options available and financial commitment for each.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Eric Levens at Shady Grove Fertility?
While many doctors don't make themselves readily available or communicate well with patients, Dr. Levens does. Whenever I was in the office for a monitoring appointment, he would take the time to say hello and ask how I was doing. He was quick to call me back whenever I had a question or concern, and within half an hour of my egg retrieval surgery, Dr. Levens was already on the phone with me, making sure I was OK and reporting the number of eggs retrieved/how many of them were mature. When my IVF cycle later resulted in a chemical pregnancy, he personally called to give me the sad news and encourage me to remain hopeful about moving forward to frozen embryo transfer. He understands the emotional toll of fertility treatment, and conveys information in an honest yet caring manner that demonstrates his respect and concern for each patient as an individual.
Describe the protocols Eric Levens used in your cycles at Shady Grove Fertility and their degree of success.
We started out using the lowest tech and most affordable options available. My first IUI involved the use of Clomid. The second, a combination of Clomid and injections, and the third, injections only. After it became obvious that we would need to move on to IVF, Dr. Levens implemented an antagonist protocol and recommended ICSI instead of traditional IVF due to some specimen-related inconsistencies on my husband's end. Sure enough, it ended up being a good thing we opted for ICSI, since otherwise, we would have ended up with a very low fertilization rate. In the end, we had 15 eggs retrieved and five embryos that made it to the five-day blastocyst stage.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Shady Grove Fertility. (Assigned nurse: Sarah Conron)
My primary nurse, Sarah, was incredibly well-organized and quick to respond whenever I had a question or needed a medication refilled. She made sure my medication orders were submitted to a pharmacy that would give me the best rate. She even provided some extra medication that had been donated by another patient when I ended up needing more than anticipated. She was flexible in communicating either via email or phone, which I appreciated. Another nurse, Gail, who performed one of my IUIs and some of my ultrasounds, was also friendly and funny, making me laugh and helping me relax, even when I was stressed.
Describe your experience with Shady Grove Fertility.
Shady Grove's Annandale and Rockville offices both run like well-oiled machines, and most everyone we've encountered has been friendly and helpful. Wait times can vary, depending upon how busy things are that day, but are typically not excessive.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Eric Levens at Shady Grove Fertility.
I had no insurance coverage beyond the initial diagnostic testing, doctor consultations and some basic medication (birth control pills, for example). Each of my IUIs cost about $1,500-$2,500. For IVF, I was able to enroll in the Shared Risk program, which provides up to six fresh IVF rounds and unlimited frozen embryo transfers for a refundable fee of $20,000+. Medication costs were, on average, $500 for IUI and $3,000 for IVF.
Describe Eric Levens's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Shady Grove Fertility.
Given my age and prognosis, Dr. Levens advocated for the transfer of a single embryo and the freezing of any remaining high-quality embryos. He made sure my husband and I were in agreement with this decision, and provided information about the risks associated with carrying twins.