How was your experience with Grace Couchman at Carolina Conceptions?
Dr. Couchman can be a bit cold, but I also feel like she doesn't just waste your time doing things that likely won't work. She is a good balance of reality and hope. I have been working with Dr Couchman since conceiving my son, and we've had a lot of insurance-related hurdles, and because we've worked closely together, I feel she has more of an understanding of my case. But before that, I did feel a bit like she was just putting me through a standard protocol, and I was just another patient. However, with my relationship change with Dr. Couchman, the clinic's staff and other doctors also have been friendlier, so I feel like it's a clinic effort as well.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Grace Couchman at Carolina Conceptions?
ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF! Read up on what may be causing your infertility, ask lots of questions, and if something doesn't feel right, bring it up. The tendency with Dr Couchman is to do what works for most, but you know what works for you. Ask for it. Dr Couchman is very reasonable and will listen, but you have to ask to get a different result.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Grace Couchman at Carolina Conceptions?
When I first started with Carolina Conceptions, I felt like a human, but there were definitely points along my journey where I haven't. I will say they have gotten a TON better in the last 6 months or so, across the board. Dr. Couchman can be a bit cold, but what I appreciate about her is that she is open to my thoughts on the process and the direction I want to go. There was a cycle (ended up being my best), that I had seen a different dr for my monitoring, who wanted to proceed very early with an IUI with just one follicle. I tried to push back, but the other dr was fairly adamant. I emailed Dr. Couchman later, and she came up with a plan that actually netted 9 eggs eventually. So I would say, in general, the clinic's approach is more number-like, but overall, if you advocate for yourself and what you want, you will get individual treatment. But the status quo is more number driven, and one size fits all treatment.
Describe the protocols Grace Couchman used in your cycles at Carolina Conceptions and their degree of success.
I did an IVF cycle with menopur, testosterone, gonal-f, and something else, and I got very few follicles. I've done many IUIs with different doses of Gonal-F
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The nurses associated with my FET and egg retrieval "in the back" were great! Very compassionate and sweet and caring. The front staff is kind of hit or miss, some are very nice, most are just so so. The lab staff are also very nice. The embroyologist we had was not very nice, borderline cranky.
Describe your experience with Carolina Conceptions.
There seems to be an effort underway over the last 6 months to be friendlier, everyone is chattier, smiles more, and just more caring and friendly overall. I did have a few instances a few months back where the HCP doing my exam over a few of the appointments (different people each time) had to have a chaperone, which was a little weird, but overall, they seem to be trying to be nicer. I will say, they default your treatment overall, and if you feel something should be different, you need to speak up, across the board.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Grace Couchman at Carolina Conceptions.
$15,125 for one IVF cycle, just clinic services, nothing additional
Describe Grace Couchman's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Carolina Conceptions.
Carolina Conceptions has guidelines for this, but we didn't have multiple to transfer, so wasn't an issue for us. In general, I felt their guidelines were very responsible and reasonable.
What specific things went wrong at Carolina Conceptions?
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to order appropriate test
- Lost results
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Carolina Conceptions.
This was all insurance related - I need no prior auth for IUI trying for my second pregnancy, and I was asked when we first started if i preferred IUI or IVF, I said IVF, but knew I had great coverage, so whatever the insurance dictated (previously I had to try IUI 6 times prior to being approved for IVF). We got denied for IVF, but the clinic made it seem like we were denied overall. We waited over 6 months of appeals prior to the clinic notifying us that we could have done IUI, and only after I asked. I'm AMA, so this was particularly concerning, having lost almost a year in total until we finally got everything in line and started trying again. In addition to this, the person working the financial piece was borderline rude and very unhelpful. She also didn't order the correct tests when we were appealing, and caused us to lose a month there as well, and forgot to send results in during the appeal. I haven't seen her there lately, so perhaps she's gone, but she's been a long time employee of the clinic, so I don't think that's the case.