How was your experience with Rene Allen at Santa Barbara Fertility Center?
Dr. Allen, like most REs I have met with, is not of the warm and fuzzy type. I've concluded that that must be at least in part due to the nature of the job - bad news has to be communicated at a frequent rate and many, many women are unable to get pregnant and carry to term. Nonetheless, Dr. Allen otherwise struck me as smart, professional and up to date on the research. He is the type of doctor who will answer all of your questions thoroughly and carefully, but you must come prepared - he seems to err on the side of giving less information unless you ask a lot of questions. Overall, I was generally pleased with the quality of care I received from him. He does all of his ultrasounds himself (with a female nurse present) and gives you the results once you are dressed and have stepped outside. I wish he were a little more accessible via email but that's a minor issue.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Rene Allen at Santa Barbara Fertility Center?
Be prepared - know your history and your diagnosis, and come prepared with lots of questions. And don't expect someone with a warm bedside manner. Otherwise, know that you are in good hands with a good doctor.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Rene Allen at Santa Barbara Fertility Center?
Dr. Allen's practice is small, and he is the only doctor, so in general, you don't feel like you are part of an assembly line. The staff is generally friendly and polite, and on top of paperwork, billing, etc.
Describe the protocols Rene Allen used in your cycles at Santa Barbara Fertility Center and their degree of success.
I was on a standard antagonist protocol (300 units Follistim, 150 menopur, HGH, Ganirelix once my follicles got big enough, 5000 IU Pregnyl trigger) and Dr. Allen tweaked the dosage after every visit and blood test results. I responded very well so I didn't end up having to be on as high of a dosage as he expected.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Santa Barbara Fertility Center.
I don't know if she was a nurse per se, but someone contacted me every afternoon with my blood test results and my instructions as to my dosage. I didn't interact with her much beyond that. The phlebetomist was great and all my blood draws went very smoothly.
Describe your experience with Santa Barbara Fertility Center.
Because Santa Barbara is so small, there aren't a ton of options when it comes to fertility treatment (a rude awakening for me, coming from a big city). Several women recommended Dr. Allen and his clinic to me, and I think he is a fine choice. I do think that because he's a one person clinic, you don't get the multiple perspectives you might get from a clinic with more doctors. Also again because of the size, I'm not sure if they have always have a full time embryologist on staff, and you have batch retrievals, which I don't love (but plenty of larger clinics do that too).
Describe the costs associated with your care under Rene Allen at Santa Barbara Fertility Center.
My IVF cycle, including PGS but not an FET, cost approximately $21K, which is about average in California. Meds were an additional $6K or so.
Describe Rene Allen's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Santa Barbara Fertility Center.
Dr. Allen will really work with you and for the most part, will go along with your requests. For example, while he recommends PGS for the over 40 crowd, he will do fresh transfers of multiple untested blasts if that's what you want. On the flip side, sometimes I felt like he was a little *too* open - I wanted him to tell me what the best path was.