How was your experience with Heather Huddleston at UCSF?
I saw Dr. Huddleston twice - once at my initial consultation and again for my first pregnancy ultrasound after one round of IVF and a successful FET. I also had one phone appointment with her following my egg retrieval. I found her to be personable and thought she did a great job explaining all the procedures, her reasoning behind protocol decisions, and answering our Qi questions. She doesn’t sugar coat things, but I liked this because I wanted direct answers and for my expectations to be reasonably set. She did not perform my retrieval or my FET, but I knew going in that UCSF’s model would mean that I would likely see other doctors throughout my treatment. We were incredibly fortunate that we didn’t encounter many setbacks and had a successful transfer after one IVF cycle so the level of interaction and communication I had with Dr. Huddleston was completely satisfactory. And I trusted her treatment protocol.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Heather Huddleston at UCSF?
No matter who your doctor is, be a self-advocate. Never be afraid to ask questions and push for answers if you’re not getting them. Dr. Huddleston was great with us, and if you like a straight shooter, you’ll probably like her.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Heather Huddleston at UCSF?
I felt the clinic did a very good job of organizing my care. After our initial consultation with Dr. Huddleston, who was kind and sympathetic but also direct and help set realistic expectations, we were assigned a care coordinator who explained and facilitated the next steps/tests that we needed to take before we could start treatment. We were also assigned a nurse who was very kind, communicative and responsive. UCSF is a teaching hospital and even though you see different doctors and residents throughout your treatment, everyone we encountered was kind and positive.
Describe the protocols Heather Huddleston used in your cycles at UCSF and their degree of success.
I don’t remember exactly what our protocol was, but my diagnosis prior to seeing Dr. Huddleston was anovulation. I did I believe 10-11 days of stims followed by a trigger shot and we retrieved 19 eggs of which 14 were mature and 11 fertilized using ICSI. By day 3 we still had 11 embryos so we opted to continue to grow those embryos to see how many blastocysts we could get in order to do PGS testing. By day 6 we had 3 remaining embryos which we biopsies and then froze. Of the 3, 2 were PGS normal. About 2 months later I started the FET process, beginning with birth control pills then followed by Lupron shots, estrogen patches and progesterone in oil shots. Dr. Rosen at UCSF performed by single FET and that resulted in pregnancy and the live birth of our son. We have one PGS normal embryo left that we hope to transfer in the next year.
Describe your experience with your nurse at UCSF. (Assigned nurse: Rachel)
I don’t remember the name of the care coordinator we were assigned, but she was great. Immediately after our consultation she took us to another room and started to book blood work and organize paperwork. My nurse was Rachel - I don’t know if she is still with the clinic - but I thought she was fantastic. She easy to reach, always responsive, had a great demeanor and was really helpful with getting my medications and going over my treatment protocols.
Describe your experience with UCSF.
The clinic is very clean, quiet and comfortable. They do a nice job of creating a calm and quiet space. The people at reception are nice. You see different doctors and nurses because it’s a teaching hospital, but I knew this going in and was fine with it. My doctor was still the person who determined my protocols and treatment.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Heather Huddleston at UCSF.
We purchased a two cycle package through ARC fertility that was also part of their success program. The two cycle package included two retrievals and four fresh/frozen transfers. One cycle was considered one retrieval and 2 transfers; you couldn’t move on to the next cycle until you used up all the embryos you had from the first (meaning, no embryo banking before doing a transfer). If the first cycle results in a live birth, you get a partial refund (this was the success program piece). I don’t remember the exact costs, but I think the package was about $29K and since we did have a life birth after the first cycle, we were refunded about $11K. I should note that the $29K included ICSI, which was an add-on. Medications were not included, but since we didn’t have any insurance to cover IVF we qualified for a government discount program and our medications only totaled about $700.
Describe Heather Huddleston's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at UCSF.
Going into treatment, we knew we wanted to only transfer one embryo and Dr. Huddleston supported this decision. She said that at my age, if we had a PGS tested normal embryo her recommendation would be to transfer one. If we didn’t have enough embryos to test, then she would recommend transferring two.