How was your experience with James Donahue at Family Beginnings?
Dr. Donahue is technically the third doctor that has addressed my infertility over the years. I have been diagnosed PCOS for over five years and my primary care physician is the one that began my fertility treatments with Clomid. I then saw another physician over a course of a year, that treated my infertility unsuccessfully with IUI treatments. I unfortunately have had to deal a lot with physicians pertaining to my fertility and Dr. Donahue‘s bedside manner and compassion was far greater than I could’ve expected. He met with my husband and I to give us details on the procedure and to give us feedback on what he believes we would need for my cycle. He also took in my records from my other physicians. He took time to look through them to see what protocols worked and didn’t work for me. He based his decision on what I’ve already gone through previously. I was very glad that he looked over my paperwork, because I’ve been very resistant to medication and he adjusted medications appropriately. Through my IUIs they changed and increased medications each cycle. The cycle cycle I produced 2 mature sized follicles, but still resulted in a failed cycle. He also listens to me that I ovulate early on injectables and he prescribed me a medication keep me from ovulating early. He also monitored my blood levels early to make sure that I did not ovulate too soon. Dr. Donahue adjusted my medication from my last IUI cycle and he changed it to a medication protocol that was better fitting for me. I was able to make multiple follicles and have 12 eggs at retrieval. Dr. Donahue thoroughly examined my eggs after my retrieval and he was able to tell that my egg quality is not what it shows on an ultrasound. Out of my 12 eggs, only three of them were considered mature. Out of those three, none of them fertilized. He was very compassionate in delivering the news to me and my husband. He changed my medication protocol for the next cycle I am to complete in a June. He wanted to make it to retrieval days as much as we did. I feel like he listened to me every step of the way. I was comfortable going into it, even though the procedure was something new to me. He also was reachable. If I needed him he was reachable by cell phone or calling the office. Every time I have an appointment, even with just the nurse, I see him and he talks to me about my procedure, how I’m progressing and what the results were that day. He is always very interested in what was happening.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of James Donahue at Family Beginnings?
Be your own advocate. If your aren't sure what the Doctor is saying, ask him to repeat it or explain it differently. If you have questions, concerns or input on your protocol, just say it. He listens to everything you say and explains why things will works or won't work for you.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with James Donahue at Family Beginnings?
My Husband and I sat face-to-face with Dr. Donahue and he went through the process and then asked if we had questions. He knew I had a medical background and answer the questions Straight forward in a way I understand. He didn’t mention statistics until I asked him about them and he didn’t seem to change the numbers at all depending on how I asked. After our failed cycle, he came in was very compassionate in delivering the reasoning and the results and was very helpful. He helped us decided if we wanted to move forward to another cycle.
Describe the protocols James Donahue used in your cycles at Family Beginnings and their degree of success.
Thankfully we had some previous information to go off of. I used injectables with a previous physician for 2 of my 4 IUI procedures. Dr. Donahue took that information and changed a little. I stayed on Follitropin (the only change was brand from follistim to gonal F) for my Invocell cycle. We increased my dosage. The last time I took the Follistim, I had one follicle of mature size and on that was close to mature. With it being an IUI I do not know if that follicle contained an egg or a mature egg for that matter.
My first month I was on birth control to regulate my cycle and shrink cysts from my PCOS. I was on 5mg of Letrozole day 2-6. I started the Gonal-F on day 5. I was on 150mg twice a day. Dr Donahue was aware that I had a history of ovulating early on injectables and therefore we did bloodwork and my first ultrasound early. Day 10 we did my scan and the largest follicle I had was close to 14mm. One on each ovary. I had several others that were near 9-10mm. That evening we increased my dosage of gonal F to 225units from then until the morning of Day 13. We did another Ultrasound on Day 12. This time it showed My two dominate follicles (on each side) were 16-18. I took Cetrotide day 11, 12, 13 to stop my from ovulation early. (That ended up being a good thing because my ovulation predictor started to rise on a home test.)
Finally retrieval day was set for day 15. The evening of cycle day 13 I took HCG (Pregnyl) trigger shot. I went in for retrieval at 8 am that Sunday morning. We got the news that upwards of ten follicles were on each side. We only retrieved 12 eggs from the procedure. Dr Donahue determined that only 3 of them had fully matured to correct formation and size. We did ICSI, inseminated all three eggs and implanted them in the INVOcell device. After 5 days, not a single egg had fertilized.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Family Beginnings. (Assigned nurse: Kim)
The first appointment I was nervous. The nurse took me in and did the normal intake questions along with vitals. She lead us back to the conference room where we consulted with Dr Donahue. The next few appointments were where we really got to know Kim.
She did my baseline scan before I started my treatment. She explained the procedure before and while she was doing the exam. She told me what my numbers were and what numbers we were looking for while doing the scan.
After my retrieval when we only had 3 eggs, she was very hopeful for us and reassuring. When we came back at the 5 days and our embryos didn't make it, she was so compassionate. She hugged me and get tearful with me.
She and Dr Donahue said that would discuss details with us on another cycle if and when we were ready. We were told to take our time getting ready and to not rush out before we were ready. The other nurses or assistance in the office at the front desk were kind and compassionate too. They have been great at relating messages between myself and the Doctor or Nurse.
Describe your experience with Family Beginnings.
The clinic has a nice office space and is very clean. I think they could benefit from another Nurse, just to assist the current Nurse. By nature she is a fast paced person and at first comes off as she is rushing, but she really isn't. She always has the time or makes the time for me. They also schedule the appointments appropriately to allow the Nurse adequate time with the patients. She can answer questions, help with billing questions, give education and instruction on the new medications and how to work the injectors. I never waited more than 8-10 minutes past a scheduled appointment.
I unfortunately had my retrieval day land on a weekend. While I know that didn't want to work the weekend I never saw that out of them. They were kind and never pushy.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Family Beginnings.
The monitoring appointments were made around my schedule. The nurse completed the procedure. The Doctor was in my specific office 2-3 times a week and then in the other office other days.
There was only one time when I had an ultrasound with the nurse and she had question on continuing or changing my protocol and had to call the Dr at the other office. There is also another Doctor there, but not my main physician. She was able to get results within minutes. All my other scans the doctor was meet us at the end of the ultrasound to discuss if there were changes or if we were staying right on track.
Describe the costs associated with your care under James Donahue at Family Beginnings.
My medication protocol alone was roughly $2800. My insurance covered part of the antibiotic and letrozole, which saved me about $25 dollars overall.
My initial office visit, trial transfer and infectious disease panel labs were $610. My baseline scan was $305. My day 10 and 12 follicle scans and bloodwork were $240 a piece. My retrieval, INVOcell and transfer was $5,500. The anesthesiologist for the retrieval was $470. The other thing we didn't pay last time, but is an option is $1000 for cryopreservation, if multiple eggs are fertilized. The overall cost was $7,365. Not including the cryopreservation, medication or travel costs.
Describe James Donahue's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Family Beginnings.
My Dr and I did discuss on the number of embryos we would transfer. He said he most often dose two, but in some cases (and requests) he will only transfer one. He knew we wanted to transfer two from the beginning. He made us aware that twins are a possibility when transferring two. He also stated that on the rare occasion the egg can split and we could have more than two babies. He was clear on the possibilities and reasoning.