How was your experience with Melissa Gunter at Parkwest Women's Health?
Dr. Gunter is very friendly, welcoming, and warm. I feel very comfortable having her perform my pelvic exams and look forward to having her as my OB should I get pregnant. She also talked me through some of the options for becoming a single mother by choice, which was helpful. One thing that I found frustrating though was that I think she thought that I was still thinking about whether or not I wanted to do it, when I thought I clearly communicated that I was there to form a plan and get started. Once we had done two IUIs (unmedicated), I really wanted to get more aggressive and because she doesn't really do that I was sent to an RE. I wished she had just done that from the start. Not sure if it was just the sense that since I had not tried to get pregnant through intercourse that she thought we should start conservatively (which I initially agreed with), or if she didn't fully appreciate how expensive it is to purchase donor sperm for every IUI...which is tough if it doesn't result in pregnancy! So, in retrospect, I wish I had just be referred straight to the RE or been offered the option.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Melissa Gunter at Parkwest Women's Health?
Communicate as clearly as possible your personal timetable, any concerns about expenses and that you want to minimize them if that's the case...and if you want to be aggressive, how aggressive and how soon you want to try things like medicated IUIs or IVF.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Melissa Gunter at Parkwest Women's Health?
ParkWest is really an OB/GYN office and although my doctor does concentrate on fertility, she really isn't a reproductive endocrinologist. I went to her first because it seemed like it was the right path to take initially. Dr. Gunter herself is very warm and listened to my plan to become a single mother without judgement. I would even say she was encouraging. However, other members of the staff (not all) reacted as though I was an alien for taking this path to motherhood. I know that most people have a partner, but since I didn't it was frustrating that they didn't know the answers to basic questions relating to the IUI process without needing to call me back hours or a day later. In a few cases I heard, "Oh, that's WAY more complicated..." in response to questions when that editorializing was not helpful or needed.
Describe the protocols Melissa Gunter used in your cycles at Parkwest Women's Health and their degree of success.
Dr. Gunter's treatment strategy was to start with unmedicated IUIs. Prior to starting treatment, I was referred to a high-risk OB to ensure there weren't any concerns about moving forward. As a 39-year-old with a history of bad migraines and hypothyroidism, this seemed reasonable to me. I did two IUIs without medications. Neither was successful. After the second one, I requested an appointment with her to re-evaluate the plan. Her suggestion was that it might be worth moving directly to IVF (this seemed somewhat over aggressive since we hadn't even tried medication), so she referred me to an RE. I think in some ways recommending IVF was helpful in that I did want to save money by not doing tons of fruitless rounds of IUIs and get the best results, however after speaking to the RE it was clear that the best next step was medicated IUIs. It wasn't suggested, even though I had asked, that I should have an HSG or blood tests for FSH, AMH, and more until I was being referred to the RE. Again, this really should have been done before I started as blood tests at least are not pricy and might have saved me money on donor sperm for those two non-medicated IUIs as we might have moved directly to medication if the blood tests had been done sooner.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
I found my interactions with the nursing staff to be both positive and frustrating at different points. It seemed like they were not practiced at walking patients through the IUI process with donor sperm for women attempting to conceive on their own (without a partner). The IUI that I had performed by one of the NPs was great. She was very knowledgable, made me feel very comfortable, and answered all of my questions in a detailed manner. Other nurses were friendly and caring, but lacking in the knowledge dept when I had questions.
Describe your experience with Parkwest Women's Health.
This is a great office if you need regular GYN or OB services. If you are having intercourse to become pregnant and need advice or get pregnant through intercourse and need an OB, this office is right for you. If you need more specialized services like IUI, you may want to request a fertility specialist referral right away. You will be better served by those whose only concentration is fertility (or infertility!).
Describe the costs associated with your care under Melissa Gunter at Parkwest Women's Health.
IUIs and associated procedures were covered by my insurance, so I paid my regular specialist co-pay of $25 for each visit, including the IUI. Additionally, I paid the sperm bank about $850/IUI for donor sperm. Not a cost charged by Dr. Gunter's office, but an important consideration for me.
What specific things went wrong at Parkwest Women's Health?
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Parkwest Women's Health.
I received conflicting and/or confusing instructions from nurses as I was trying to understand how to best monitor ovulation, when to schedule the IUI based on my results, and how to have an IUI on the weekend. My doctor had told me one thing, which some nurses reiterated while others told me the opposite. This resulted in me having to get pushy and insist that IUIs were indeed performed on weekends. This was greatly concerning at the time because the office doesn't store donor sperm, so it must be ordered with good timing and then must be used THAT cycle. When I was told they didn't do IUIs on weekends (this was not true), I immediately became concerned that my $850 for donor sperm had been wasted...not something I could afford to do!