How was your experience with Jennifer E. Hirshfeld-Cytron at Fertility Centers of Illinois?
Dr. Hirshfeld always clearly and patiently explained procedures, risks, and even drew diagrams to illustrate her explanations. She always gave me plenty of time to consider whether I had questions. She talked over options like genetic testing - which we almost didn't do- in the way that a friend who had been through this experience would explain it. She never talked down to me, just spoke plainly and clearly. She didn't sugar coat anything, and also managed to be comforting and encouraging without making false promises about success. I had a terrible scare with a bleed about 2 weeks after my positive pregnancy test (post FET); I had the doctor paged and she immediately called me, listened to my fear that I was miscarrying, and reassured me that she believed the bleeding could have another cause- again, without promising anything. She turned out to be right, I was not having a miscarriage, and everyone was so compassionate towards me in that situation. She has called me from her personal cell phone to check on me. She is a kind, consummate medical professional.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Jennifer E. Hirshfeld-Cytron at Fertility Centers of Illinois?
Ask as many questions as you may have, because she is totally willing to take the time to answer them. She is extremely compassionate and knowledgeable.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Jennifer E. Hirshfeld-Cytron at Fertility Centers of Illinois?
Everyone was friendly, comforting, treated me as an individual that they wanted to get to know. I felt that my becoming pregnant was as important to the doctor and the staff as it was to me. The nurses always responded quickly and thoroughly to my emails, and I was always made to feel welcome to ask any questions I had no matter how small the issue.
Describe the protocols Jennifer E. Hirshfeld-Cytron used in your cycles at Fertility Centers of Illinois and their degree of success.
Dr. Hirshfeld was aware that I had been a strong responder to Gonal-F in my previous IUI cycles at another clinic. I had cycles cancelled due to this issue. So her approach to my first IVF cycle was conservative in this regard, and as we went forward, she adjusted the medication up and down as needed. She was also trying to spare me the pain of OHSS since I was higher risk for that. At the same time, she wanted to get the most eggs since, given my age, there was a high likelihood that many of them would not develop to become embryos. Right before the egg retrieval, in order to get the most eggs possible, she prescribed another, second trigger medication which would allow the few remaining eggs that were right on the cusp of being mature enough to develop in time for the retrieval- without increasing my chances of developing OHSS. This strategy worked perfectly, as they were able to retrieve 25 eggs, with 20 fertilizing, 14 becoming embryos, and 4 of them making it to the day 5 embryo stage. We opted for PGS testing. Of these 4, two were normal, 1 was undetermined (needing to be re-biopsied) and 1 was abnormal. Dr. Hirshfeld counseled us to transfer 1 embryo, explained the success rates, and also explained our options for retesting the undetermined embryo. I did have some bloating after the retrieval, but I did not develop OHSS and Dr. Hirshfeld was very helpful in advising me on how to care for myself and decrease the bloating afterwards. I was put on estrogen and birth control to prepare for the frozen transfer, and one embryo (the best available, as we chose not to know gender at that time), was transferred. Recovery was fairly easy, lots of rest and 10 days later I had a positive pregnancy test at the lab.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Fertility Centers of Illinois. (Assigned nurse: Jen, RN and Myung, Medical Assistant)
Jen and Myung were absolutely fantastic- I was able to email them directly with my questions, they always called me promptly with test results, asked if I had questions, and treated my kindly and professionally. I felt very comfortable expressing fears, concerns, and doubts and they handled them the way a friend would. They truly made me feel like they knew me as a person and cared for my well-being.
Describe your experience with Fertility Centers of Illinois.
The front desk staff are very helpful, friendly ladies and I was glad to interact with them on a daily basis. They know a lot and really helped me with the paperwork side of things. They were also incredibly kind and offered hugs and encouragement when I came into the office scared and upset after a bleed. The ultrasound staff, especially Jan, are fantastic and helpful.
Definitely feel free to ask as many questions of the financial staff as you need to ask in order to understand payment options and insurance coverage. They do a good job of outlining things for you, and even when things become frustrating (as they inevitably do when paying for fertility treatments), they took the time to explain and answer all of my questions until things were clear.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Fertility Centers of Illinois.
It was a specific time window, and I would choose a specific time to arrive. I was able to bring my 3 year old daughter and the staff was very accommodating. Easy to schedule and felt very efficient. I never waited past my appointment time.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Jennifer E. Hirshfeld-Cytron at Fertility Centers of Illinois.
We had to meet our deductible and out of pocket max, and with the high cost of the medications, this happened very quickly. Our out of pocket max was $6000. FCI required a deposit of $1500 to begin treatment and this was applied towards this amount. Insurance covered 100% of everything after that- ultrasounds, visits, labs, additional medications.
We also opted for PGS testing of the embryos, and we paid for this entirely out of pocket as it was not covered by insurance. I believe the cost of that was approximately $4200. We also paid $500 to freeze our embryos for 1 year, also out of pocket.
Describe Jennifer E. Hirshfeld-Cytron's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Fertility Centers of Illinois.
She advised one embryo since she was very much trying to reduce the possibility of a twin or higher order pregnancy. This was extremely important to my husband and I, since a twin pregnancy was NOT what we wanted. Given that we opted to do PGS, she explained that the odds of a singleton pregnancy were not helped by putting in two genetically tested embryos. If we had decided not to genetic test, she would have considered transferring two embryos but this is not what we wanted to do, so her recommendation of PGS testing and a single embryo transfer is exactly what we decided to do.
What specific things went wrong at Fertility Centers of Illinois?
- Failed to send your chart to another clinic
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Fertility Centers of Illinois.
It was not a big deal; my new OB simply did not recieve the records of my prescreening genetic testing or the PGS testing of the embryo from FCI. They were requested and sent later. I was given ultrasounds of my early pregnancy in hand by the FCI staff and brought those to the new OB doctor.