How was your experience with Kristin Van Heertum at Nashville Fertility Center?
She was involved, gentle, and effective. At times I had to follow up with more questions or self-advocate, as she didn't always remember all the details we'd agreed on for my treatment, but she was responsive to my feedback and considered me thoughtfully when we were making decisions about our IUI. We conceived on our second unmedicated IUI, and transferred to my OB after our first 6wk visit with Dr Van Heertum, who offered (due to COVID-19) to see us for a couple more appointments if necessary (depending on our OB's practices - we weren't sure at the time) to ensure the continued health of our baby. She was compassionate and nonjudgmental.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Kristin Van Heertum at Nashville Fertility Center?
Ask for clarity when you aren't sure about next steps.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Kristin Van Heertum at Nashville Fertility Center?
Dr Van Heertum was consistently warm and kind, both to me and my wife, and seemed appropriately invested in our care.
Describe the protocols Kristin Van Heertum used in your cycles at Nashville Fertility Center and their degree of success.
We went in for my initial consultation in January, where I opted for genetic testing and general bloodwork. She also gave us sperm bank recommendations. Due to our use of donor sperm, we were then required to see a reproductive counselor for one session before continuing treatment. We also had a saline sonogram done, and found no cause to suspect any potential fertility issues, so Dr Van Heertum recommended we try a few cycles with an unmedicated IUI. There were nurses scheduled to perform the actual IUI, but the first IUI was trickier than expected to Dr Van Heertum came in to do it herself. That one didn't pan out, but I came back a month later and we got our successful IUI. We did all our bloodwork at the clinic and then had a 6wk ultrasound and appointment with Dr Van Heertum.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
It's hard to fault the nursing staff for the breakdowns in communication, because I was beginning my second cycle right at the start of coronavirus. The staff was put on an alternating schedule and it made getting and giving clear and streamlined information quite challenging. I think they were all doing their best in relatively impossible circumstances, and I don't imagine things haven't improved since getting into a new rhythm, but communication was frustrating and disorienting by the time I started getting my IUIs.
Describe your experience with Nashville Fertility Center.
Very LGBTQ inclusive, with a supportive and nonjudgmental staff. They were effective and helped us get pregnant quickly. Most people were exceptionally kind, but I had to be sure to self-advocate (ESPECIALLY once coronavirus started shifting their staff schedules) to make sure I was treated according to my specific needs rather than to the default. Disappointing communication breakdowns during beginning of coronavirus changes, but I'm under the impression that has since improved. There have been some billing errors and other communication-related blunders, but there has also been an exceptionally helpful and involved staff to help me troubleshoot and make sure those problems are solved.
What specific things went wrong at Nashville Fertility Center?
- Failed to inform you of changes in protocol
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Nashville Fertility Center.
At the beginning of the coronavirus (I had both my IUIs in March 2020) I was aware that things may change and reached out on several occasions to make sure I was up to date with the current protocol. I was told that I'd be informed in advance of any changes, and I also received emails and checked their website regularly, where it said clearly that they were continuing to operate as usual, just with some added safety measures. I spoke to the on-call doctor the Saturday night that I got my positive OPK, and he said to call Monday morning and get in for the earliest possible appointment. But when I called Monday morning, they told me they weren't doing IUIs anymore. Obviously I was shocked and frustrated, since I'd been diligently checking to ensure my expectations were fairly set, and I didn't find out this change in policy until the day I was meant to receive my treatment. After a few tearful conversations, and because I had spoken to the on-call doctor, they wound up allowing me to come in for my IUI after all (and that was the one that yielded our pregnancy!), but it was an immensely stressful and emotional morning and the weeks that followed were similarly chaotic re: communication (ie getting a different nurse every time I called). These were not normal circumstances, and I know that - I really think the situation merits a great deal of grace and understanding, and they were working incredibly hard on impossible times. That said, my regular OB's office (Not my RE) was clear, communicative, and transparent in a way that really set the bar and I do think the situation at NFC could've been handled better.