How was your experience with Mindy Christianson at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute?
As a patient I feel like she is doing everything in her power to help us conceive. When my first ivf cycle failed we changed the protocol by adding an endometrial scratch. She also did further testing. The second cycle also failed and we are in the process of completing a more aggressive protocol and testing before moving forward. I do wish that all of the testing would have been completed at the beginning so that we could have known more of what to expect. I think that at this point it really is a puzzle because all of the tests show that it should have worked by now. I do feel that she is being diligent about trying to troubleshoot where we can.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Mindy Christianson at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute?
Be your own advocate. She is definitely going to give you the best care but if you have a test or supplement that you would like to know about, she will take the time to tell you the pros and cons of it. She will also thoroughly explain every step so be ready to take notes. *smile* But seriously, if you want to know something, don't be afraid to ask. She is very open to the steps that you feel comfortable with taking. For instance because of my age they would only usually transfer one embryo but she let me decide how many I wanted to transfer. After my first failed cycle she asked if I would be comfortable with two being transferred and ultimately let me make the finally decision.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Mindy Christianson at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute?
It is easy to feel like a number because it is a group practice and you may see a different doctor each time you go in for monitoring. However, Dr. Christianson is very responsive on the online portal and responds to all of my questions no matter how many I need to ask. She also makes it a point to call personally when trying to adjust a plan or testing etc.
Describe the protocols Mindy Christianson used in your cycles at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute and their degree of success.
Cycle 1: Stimulation- gonal f and menopur with cetrotide. I ended up being high risk for OHSS so she decided to do a freeze all cycle. I had about 30 follicles and retrieved 15 mature eggs.
FET-after my period started I was able to do a frozen embryo transfer. We decided to do 1 embryo because of my age and the likelihood that it would be successful. I used estrogen patches for 14 day, crinone for 5 days (there was a progesterone in oil shortage at the time), medrol and doxycycline (those are standard at the practice before a transfer). That cycle resulted in a negative pregnancy test.
FET2- When my period started from the last failed cycle, I took birth control because the clinic was closed for the holidays. When they reopened I went in for a saline ultrasound to check for polyps and an endometrial scratch. I stopped the birth control then started the estrogen 2 days after. I began the progesterone in oil on day 14 of my cycle and had a transfer of 2 embryos 5 days later. That cycle also resulted in a negative test.
Now: We are in the process of developing the protocol for my next transfer. I will complete an ERA to make sure that we are transferring at the right time. Then I will wait for my period to come. Once that ends, I will have a hysteroscopy to ensure that nothing was overlooked in the saline ultrasound. I will also be completing an immune protocol for the next cycle which will include a higher steroid dose and lovenox.
Describe your experience with Johns Hopkins Medical Institute.
As a new patient you should know that this is a group practice. This means that when you go for monitoring you may meet with whatever doctor is scheduled that morning. I liked that they did monitoring in the morning because I didn't need to miss time from work. Also the changing of doctors during clinics can be a good thing because you become comfortable with all of the doctors and they may be the one completing your transfer or retrieval so its good to at least be familiar with them. Sometimes I do feel that they may not remember me personally but I dont take it personal since they see so many people in the mornings for monitoring.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute.
For monitoring the clinic opens at 630, the lab opens at 6 am. Usually your lab tests for the cycle are already in the online portal so I would arrive early, go get blood work done, then go upstairs and sign in to be seen. They would go in a first come first served fashion. If the list was already long when I arrived, I would sign in, then go for my blood work and come back.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Mindy Christianson at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute.
the ivf cycle was about 10K and the FET cycles are about 5600. Freezing of embryos was $600 and thawing was $250 per cycle.
Describe Mindy Christianson's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute.
I was advised to transfer one embryo initially because of my age. The second cycle she suggested we do 2 and I agreed.