How was your experience with Natalia Grindler at Conceptions Reproductive Associates?
Dr. Grindler comes off as very smart, educated and competent. I think those are her strengths. She is also quite thorough and provides info in a calm and objective manner. What she lacks in warmth, she makes up for in comprehensiveness. I never left her office without fully understanding a diagnosis, procedure, or with any open questions.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Natalia Grindler at Conceptions Reproductive Associates?
A little warmth goes a long way. This process is so emotional for a newcomer to infertility. Initially, maybe acknowledge that fear, trepidation and nervousness about the process before delving into the specifics of the consultation.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Natalia Grindler at Conceptions Reproductive Associates?
I know that this clinic sees A LOT of patients. Dr. Grindler felt "firm but fair". She was very thorough, but lacked warmth. Fortunately, I prefer a blunt, more candid doctor. She is very smart and forthcoming and I feel like she knows what is best for me and will do what is best for me. At no point did I ever feel like just a number with Dr. Grindler. I understand that in her line of work, she is required to be detached and not give false hope to those who are so invested.
Describe the protocols Natalia Grindler used in your cycles at Conceptions Reproductive Associates and their degree of success.
Dr. Grindler did bloodwork and ultrasound to determine my baseline strategy. She took my age and health factors into consideration. I have Hashimoto's so she was looking for specific thyroid factors in the bloodwork. After that came back, she then suggested we do an HSG to determine if my anatomy was a factor in my infertility. The HSG showed a blocked tube, so essentially she gave me the option of IUI or IVF. My chances of conceiving naturally she determined were about 1-2% a month, given my age and hydrosalpinx. She gave the IUI a 10% chance of success and IVF a 70-75% chance of success. She agreed that IVF would be the best bang for our buck, so we started right away. She had me do more blood work and determined that I would prime with estrogen. on Cycle Day 2, we started with injections: 4 vials Menopur & 0.7 cc of Omnitrope AM and 300 IU Gonal-F PM. We slowly increased the Gonal-F throughout the cycle from 300 to 375 and then finally to 450. On cycle day 8, I started with Cetrotide and continued with the protocol until we triggered on Day 12. Overall I came away with 12 follicles. We retrieved 9 eggs, 5 were mature and 5 fertilized. Of those 5 embryos, 4 made it to blastocyst on day 5 and day 6, respectively. We biopsied all 4 and sent them to Natera for PGS testing. 3 came back abnormal with trisomy 16, 21 and deletion of chromosome 7. One came back PGS "normal" with an 85% confidence on chromosome 13. That embryo is currently frozen. Because of the confidence, Dr. Grindler agreed with my decision to do a second retrieval cycle to try to get more healthier embryos to potentially transfer. She is changing my second retrieval to prime with Estrogen, Cetrotide and Omnitrope and will start my Gonal-F at 450 IU from the start. She will also have my take the Omnitrope for longer. Unfortunately, my insurance company denied my second cycle and wants me to transfer my 85% confidence embryo first before they approve a second cycle. That is currently where I am with my protocol.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Conceptions Reproductive Associates. (Assigned nurse: Erika Peksens)
I loved Erika. She was incredibly compassionate, funny, real, and made me feel like a human during this process. She wasn't afraid to show her emotions or support during this process. Without her, I would have felt so lost! Every single nurse that I spoke with was transparent, thorough, and communicated very well about every step. I feel that the nursing staff is one of the biggest strengths of this clinic.
Describe your experience with Conceptions Reproductive Associates.
Fortunately for me, the closest fertility clinic recognized by my insurance as a "center of excellence" and therefore approved, was Conceptions in Littleton, CO. They are one of the top fertility clinics in the country and I can see why.
Every single encounter I have had at the clinic has been a compassionate, positive, forthcoming, and easy experience. Everyone at Conceptions, from the receptionists to the phlebotomists, to the embryology team, to my doctor, to the whole nursing staff, is wonderful. I have felt fully supported throughout this whole experience. I did not feel like a number or cattle being herded. I felt like a human being that they truly cared about.
No question was too dumb or too silly. They always called me when they said they would and made sure I felt good about the process every step of the way.
I highly recommend Conceptions. Their strengths are with their incredibly caring nursing staff, and with their knowledgeable doctors on staff. I truly feel the doctors at Conceptions are at the forefront of fertility research. They included cutting edge meds in my protocol that many other clinics do not. For these reasons, I feel that they score so high in all fertility clinic surveys and with results.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Natalia Grindler at Conceptions Reproductive Associates.
I believe my insurance has covered about $38k to date. I have a $55k lifetime fertility benefit. Out of pocket I have paid just under $10k for medications not covered and the PGS genetic testing that is not covered.
Describe Natalia Grindler's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Conceptions Reproductive Associates.
Dr. Grindler said that the clinic does practice multiple embryo transfer and that the decision to do that is up to the patient. Dr. Grindler is very good at managing expectations to just focus on the step at hand. Because so much of this process is beyond control and results driven, she doesn't like to get ahead in the process of planning next steps. She redirected conversations about transfer back to the retrieval process. She knows that patients can get ahead of themselves and therefore their expectations can be shattered. She is very good about having patients temper their expectations and focus on the present task. As such, we never had an in depth conversation about multiple embryo transfer other than what I stated above.
What specific things went wrong at Conceptions Reproductive Associates?
- Canceled a cycle due to clinic error
Describe the specific things that went wrong at Conceptions Reproductive Associates.
I don't think this was the clinic's fault, but less than a week before I was scheduled to start my second retrieval cycle, they called me and told me that my insurance denied the second cycle because technically I have a "transferable" embryo frozen from my first cycle. Because the confidence was only 85% on that embryo, we all agreed I should do a second cycle to try for a healthier 100% confidence PGS normal embryo for transfer. Unfortunately, I had already purchased about $2500 worth of medication that cannot not be used for a second retrieval and now I must have a salpingectomy and hysteroscopy ahead of schedule so that I can schedule the FET before the end of the year. It's disappointing, but I truly don't feel this is the clinic's fault.