How was your experience with Eric Widra at Shady Grove Fertility?
My husband and I found Dr. Widra to be compassionate, but also frank. He didn't sugarcoat anything, but I certainly never found him cold. When trying for my first, we went through a number of retrievals and transfers and I appreciated feeling "known" despite being at a very large clinic that has a reputation for being a factory. I am detail oriented and Dr. Widra always took the time to answer my questions, whether in person or on the phone. While much of my communication was with my nurse, if there was difficult or sensitive information to deliver, he always called me himself and I never felt rushed off the phone. We ended up doing PGS testing and when I became pregnant, Dr. Widra told me to call him if I ever had any questions. We were indeed told at one point in my pregnancy that we should consider an amnio to rule out chromosomal abnormalities. At this point it had been a few months since I saw Dr. Widra, but I called him and he returned my call within hours.
We went back to Dr. Widra when we were ready to try for our second, and unfortunately we did not have success. After two cycles, he recommended we move on to donor egg. While we weren't (aren't) ready to do that, I appreciated his honesty about how he views our situation.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Eric Widra at Shady Grove Fertility?
That he may not be the warmest upon first impression, but you should not take his frankness for a lack of compassion.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Eric Widra at Shady Grove Fertility?
In the early part of my treatment, when I was doing the IUIs (2), I felt more like a number. But as we moved into our IVF cycles, I had increased interactions with Dr. Widra. After my first miscarriage, I felt Dr. Widra responded with genuine compassion and personalized care. From then on, I felt he really knew me and my history.
Describe the protocols Eric Widra used in your cycles at Shady Grove Fertility and their degree of success.
I began with fairly low doses of menopur and bravelle, 75 and 150, respectively. But that cycle did not produce many follicles. In my subsequent cycles, I was using higher doses -- around 150 menopur and 300 bravelle. I did two antagonist protocols: bcp followed by stims, with cetrotide added when the follicles got to a certain size. While these yielded a decent number of eggs, Dr. Widra thought we might be able to get more with estrogen priming, so we did that for my last cycle when trying for my first. When trying for my second, we started with estrogen priming since that had yielded the most eggs when I was trying for my first. However, that did not result in many eggs, so Dr. Widra proposed a micro-dose Lupron protocol.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Shady Grove Fertility.
I actually went through 2 nurses who were not good communicators, not organized, and with whom I was not happy. After my negative experience with the second, I spoke with my doctor and he had me transferred to another nurse, who was excellent. She was clearly so much better than either of the first two.
I actually had a similar experience the second time around. I started out with a pretty subpar nurse, but spoke to the office manager and was transferred to a nurse who was incredible.
So I think the bottom line is that there is a range of nurses at the clinic and I would recommend self-advocating if you feel unhappy with your nurse.
Describe your experience with Shady Grove Fertility.
Shady Grove is huge and therefore has the expected strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: multiple locations, very good hours for appointments, usually pretty efficient monitoring hours
Weaknesses: takes some time before various personnel get to know you. your doctor is likely not going to do your procedures
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Shady Grove Fertility.
I found monitoring appointments pretty easy because there were multiple locations I could go. There were often multiple women waiting, but that didn't negatively impact my experience. I knew that the earlier I went, the less time I would have to wait. Very occasionally, I would be taken to a room and then had to wait for 10-15 minutes, but usually once I was taken to a room, I was seen within a few minutes.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Eric Widra at Shady Grove Fertility.
I was part of shared risk, both times. That meant I paid an upfront fee (~25,000) that covered up to 6 cycles and I got my money back if it didn't work.
Describe Eric Widra's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Shady Grove Fertility.
Dr. Widra had a strong preference for eSET given that we were exclusively transferring 5 day embryos. I appreciated this approach, given that it is safer for both women and babies.
What specific things went wrong at Shady Grove Fertility?
- Provided conflicting information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Shady Grove Fertility.
I honestly don't remember the exact details, but there was an incident with a nurse giving me conflicting or inaccurate information. I followed-up with my doctor, who clearly provided the accurate information and also made sure that I was re-assigned to a different and more competent nurse.