How was your experience with Isaac Sasson at Shady Grove Fertility?
As I shared previously, I came to Dr. Sasson after many years of poor experiences with Doctors due to severe pelvic pain and pelvic floor issues. I had pretty much given up hope even after spending several years in pelvic floor PT. I had tried to reach out to another fertility clinic prior to Shady Grove, and felt immediately like they couldn't be sensitive to my health issues. However, that was not the case with Dr. Sasson. From the first moment we met him, he listened to us and treated us like individuals. He was very careful and sensitive about making sure I felt comfortable at all times. When we experienced devastating setbacks (miscarriages) he grieved with us but didn't let us give up hope. He helped us come up with a plan to diagnose what was going wrong and helped us execute that plan with positive support and empathy. I am now 15 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby and things are going well. It was hard to leave Dr. Sasson as he took such good care of us. He's a loving, kind and wonderful Doctor.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Isaac Sasson at Shady Grove Fertility?
Trust him fully. At the end of the day, we know our own bodies and we need to be our own advocates but we are not the Doctor. When and if setbacks occur, trust that he is going to help you figure out where you go from here. When a plan is given, have the courage to follow it to completion. It's the only reason why we are now expecting our son.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Isaac Sasson at Shady Grove Fertility?
I came to Dr. Sasson ready to give up on giving birth to a child. We were already going through an adoption home study. I have been struggling with severe pelvic floor problems for many years now and was encouraged to go see Dr. Sasson by a pelvis floor physical therapist. Dr. Sasson treated me like an individual and treated my pain with care, sensitivity and kindness. I was used to feeling scared and ashamed at the doctor but I never felt that way under his care. Our IVF cycles had a few setbacks. My first transfer had to be cancelled a week prior as I ovulated through the medication. I then suffered two miscarriages within a 5 months window. I was devastated and depressed. Dr. Sasson helped us to come up with a plan and to execute that plan to get to the bottom of what was wrong. He cried with us and showed great empathy and warmth over our losses but he never let us lose hope. I chose to follow his advice and I underwent both surgery at the local hospital to potentially correct some pelvic issues and then underwent the ERA procedure to help with the transfer. After several months, we tried again. I am now 15 weeks pregnant and everything is going well. When we left Shady Grove, Dr. Sasson thanked us profusely for trusting him and we all felt very emotional.
Describe the protocols Isaac Sasson used in your cycles at Shady Grove Fertility and their degree of success.
As a patient with severe pelvic floor problems, I really was not a good candidate for IUI so we went immediately to IVF. We learned quickly that although I had a normal follicle count on my ultrasounds, my follicles did not respond as well to the stimulation drugs. My first cycle, we only retrieved 5 eggs. A dominant follicle had sucked up a lot of the medication on the one side. Out of those 5 eggs, we wound up with 1 normal PGS tested embryo. The transfer was canceled one week prior to the procedure because we found that I ovulated through the delestrogen. I was then put on a different protocol for the next month wherein I had to take Lupron injections first to avoid the ovulation again. This was difficult but we fought through it. The transfer was successful and I became pregnant. We had a healthy heartbeat at 6 and 7 weeks; however, I then started to bleed and we sadly lost the baby shortly thereafter. At the Doctor's suggestion, I went through with a D&C procedure to ensure I would not get an infection.
We went through our second egg retrieval a few months later after I healed from the miscarriage. This time, Dr. Sasson chose to start me on an estrogen patch to help prevent a dominant follicle like the time before. He also increased my dosages on the medication in the hope that we could get a few more quality eggs this time. This protocol worked and I had 9 more mature eggs retrieved at the retrieval surgery. Of those 9 mature eggs, 7 of them made it to 5 day blasts. Of those 7, 3 of them tested normal through PGS.
We transferred the first of those embroyos (from the second batch) following the same transfer protocol as my first pregnancy. (Lupron injections to prevent ovulation.) Then we started on the del estrogen and the progesterone injections. Unfortunately, this pregnancy also resulted in a very early miscarriage (a chemical) after a positive pregnancy test at home.
At this point, Dr. Sasson suggested that I go through the recurrent miscarriage bloodwork so that we could identify why I had now miscarried two PGS tested normal embryos in a row. He also suggested that I schedule a surgery at a local hospital so that we could do a full hysteroscopy and make sure there weren't any other lingering issues with my uterus that might be causing the problem. I went through with this procedure and we learned that, despite my years of pelvic pain, there did not appear to be anything in my uterus that was causing the miscarriages. The endo that was causing my pelvic pain was very deep in my pelvis, likely not a candidate to be ablated and not something that they should likely try to touch. Additionally, at Sasson's suggestion, I went through with the ERA (Endometrial receptivity test) in order to gage if there was an issue with the timing of my transfers. The ERA showed that I was considered "pre-receptive" and Dr. Sasson then adjusted the timing of my next transfer accordingly. Finally, my miscarriage panel bloodworked showed that I tested positive for one of the antibody clotting disorders and I was put in a daily baby aspirin to try and treat it. The panel also showed that I had elevated prolactin that might be contributing to my problems and I was put on Dostinex to attempt to treat this as well prior to transfer.
My 3rd transfer (2nd embryo from the second retrieval) occurred after the results of my ERA and after I started the aspirin and Dostinex protocol. I did a lowered Lupron protocol this time to prevent ovulation and then started on my delestrogen injections per usual. We then adjusted the timing of my progesterone injections to match the results of the ERA. This transfer was a success and resulted in a healthy pregnancy. I was released from Shady Grove's care after 10 weeks and I am now under the care of a high risk OB that came highly recommended. I am now 15 weeks pregnant and all is going well.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Shady Grove Fertility. (Assigned nurse: Lisa Russell )
It's hard to put into words the relationship that I developed with Lisa Russell and the entire nursing staff at Shady Grove Chesterbrook. They became close friends and family and, even now, though we are so thrilled to be expecting a baby, I miss seeing him on a regular basis terribly.
Lisa is first and foremost an excellent nurse who understands the complications of infertility. She was an excellent communicator. It was very rare that I did not hear directly from her if important news had to be shared. On the off chance that another nurse called me and not Lisa, they were always extremely kind and warm in her absence. I felt as though I could call or email Lisa every day and I never felt like I was bothering her. When we suffered devastating miscarriages, she was an emotional support and a friend; yet, she also helped us to understand what was going on. When I asked her for an honest opinion, she gave it to me. I always knew what we were doing, where we were going and what the goal was. She celebrated our triumphs and empathized with our tears. On the days when I was scheduled for a procedure, Lisa would always pop back to check on me.
In addition to Lisa, there were other extremely caring and loving staff at Shady Grove that always showed us compassion and kindness. Even a simply blood draw was handled with the utmost care and a smile. The nurses and staff that are responsible for the surgical procedures (Rosemary, Erica, Mallory, Jaime etc) are also excellent in every way possible. I still never forget breaking down in tears on the surgical table before I had to undergo a D&C procedure and the nurses gathering around, telling me it was OK to cry and offering me love and support on this most difficult day.
The Shady Grove Chesterbrook nursing staff is second to none.
Describe your experience with Shady Grove Fertility.
One of the first things you will notice when you step inside is that the front desk staff is kind and compassionate. This is extremely important to me as I believe approachability begins the minute you walk through the door.
The nursing and medical staff is empathetic and wonderful from the person who draws your blood to the people who perform your procedures.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Isaac Sasson at Shady Grove Fertility.
We were lucky to be part of the shared risk program for IVF. At the time, I believe the cost for the shared risk portion of the treatment (not including medications or PGS testing) was $21,000. However, if we were going through this treatment now, the cost would be even lower as Shady Grove recently lowered their rates for shared risk.
Describe Isaac Sasson's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Shady Grove Fertility.
I believe that had I asked to transfer 2 embryos, Dr. Sasson would have respected my wishes; however, this was not something that I considered doing.