How was your experience with Rachel Ashby at Brigham & Women's Hospital?
Dr. Ashby is fantastic - just because I have not yet gotten pregnant, I do not blame her. She is very knowledgeable and will even call you on the phone if the wait to see her is too long. She works with a team which has its plusses and minuses. They brainstorm together which helps to come up with a good plan and they can compare experiences against a lot of other patients. It does sometimes feel weird, though, when you go in and have a different doctor do your transfer or retrieval. But I honestly don't mind, because I believe their team to be one of the best around.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Rachel Ashby at Brigham & Women's Hospital?
I wish she could be more available to each patient, but I also know that she has a ton of patients.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Rachel Ashby at Brigham & Women's Hospital?
Dr. Ashby is great - she has been through IVF herself so she is understanding as to what the experience is like. She also has been clear about procedures and expectations.
Describe the protocols Rachel Ashby used in your cycles at Brigham & Women's Hospital and their degree of success.
My first two retrievals we started medicine mid-cycle (so I waited until I ovulated and then we started a few days after that.) I apologize as I don't remember the names for all of these treatment strategies. The first cycle didn't produce as many eggs as the second, but neither was successful. I did not get a positive pregnancy test from either. For the third cycle, Dr. Ashby said she wanted to be more aggressive so we started medicine right after my period began. On that cycle, I produced 16 eggs which is great for someone my egg and we fertilized 13. Of those, there were 4 5-day blast embryos. I transferred two in a fresh cycle and then two in a frozen cycle. Again, I did not get positive pregnancy tests from either of those cycles, but I felt like we were headed in the right direction.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
I feel like I know the nursing staff much better than the doctor team at this point because they are the ones you interact with every time you come in for blood testing or ultrasounds, etc. They were kind and supportive, much more emotionally present than the doctors. My one frustration is their contact/communication system which is to call and leave them a message and then you have to wait for a call back and you never know when that is coming. I feel like it would be so much easier to have an online message system - both for the nurses and patients.
Describe your experience with Brigham & Women's Hospital.
The clinic is top-rated and I truly believe they are really on top of current research/knowledge etc. I have frustrations that you can't do embryo donation, but that is a Massachusetts thing and not a clinic thing. You do feel a bit like a cog in a machine at times, but that is because they are so successful that they attract so many patients.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Rachel Ashby at Brigham & Women's Hospital.
I have insurance coverage for the IVF cycles but I still had to make a copay of about $2,000. And the first cycle my pharmacy costs were around $900, but after that they were free.
Describe Rachel Ashby's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Brigham & Women's Hospital.
Because of my age, I was allowed to transfer multiple embryos. The risks were made clear to me, but also the fact that it was unlikely they would all work, so I was happy to give that a try.