How was your experience with Russell Foulk at Utah Fertility Center?
Dr Foulk is very intelligent, and he is so good at sharing his vast knowledge in an understandable way. ( I loved his drawings he often used to teach me!) He took the time to make sure I knew exactly what was happening and why. He answered any questions my husband and I had, and he was very kind and compassionate during every visit or procedure. I always felt like he really cared about me as a person, and that he genuinely wanted to help my family to grow as much as I want it to grow. I appreciated his sense of confidence in the possibility of being able to carry my husband’s baby someday. It did sometimes make the road blocks and set backs hard to swallow, but he always met with us after a loss or bad news and helped encourage us to move forward and not give up. He made me want to keep trying and believe that it is possible, even when my mind and my body wanted to quit. He was also very clear about the risks or percentages of success. I appreciated how candid and experienced he is.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Russell Foulk at Utah Fertility Center?
Be upfront about your concerns, your feelings, your wants- both personally and with the procedures etc. I should have expressed more openly how emotionally and mentally hard the medications and treatments were for me. I put on a brave face most of the time, and then I sometimes felt that it wasn’t understood how hard and strainful the whole process was, but then it occurred to me that I had never expressed that I was struggling as much as I was. I would also say decide with your spouse what it is that you guys can handle and are ready for, and be willing to speak up and do things on your timeline as well. I went through multiple rounds and had many road blocks and complications along the way and for a lot of it I just went along for the ride and did whatever I was told to do whenever I was told to do it. Eventually that wore on me, and I realized that I needed to communicate better about where I was personally and where we were as a couple so that we could adjust things to better meet our needs.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Russell Foulk at Utah Fertility Center?
Every time that I met with Dr. Foulk he was very sincere, personable, and compassionate. I always felt important and cared for when I had visits/appointments with him. He answered all of mine and my husband’s questions, and I feel like he genuinely cared about us. I do wish I could have seen him more often during my variety of treatments, I often only saw his staff for appointments, but that’s normal. All of the nurses, NPs, and other providers in the office were great as well. Dr. Conway also did one of my ultrasounds and one of my surgeries and she was so kind, thorough, and I felt completely confident in her care. The medical staff explained procedures, answered my questions, and were compassionate each time I saw them. I did feel like sometimes some of the staff (office side more than the clinical staff) forgets how sensitive and tender this whole journey is and can be for individuals. I often felt like I fell through the cracks or got lost sometimes in communication between staff. There were a few different times that I had to contact my coordinator and have her help me sort out some of the confusion/ conflicting appointments, payments, or other issues. But my coordinator was great at always getting things straightened out and taken care of for me.
Describe the protocols Russell Foulk used in your cycles at Utah Fertility Center and their degree of success.
I’m not great at remembering all the details, especially in the very beginning, but we started with genetic testing for my husband. We were told he was sterile but Dr. Foulk thought otherwise and ran some genetic tests and did a physical assessment on my husband as well. Turns out he is not sterile but is a presenting carrier of cystic fibrosis so he presents as sterile. Dr Foulk did a surgery to retrieve my husband’s sperm and was successful. Then they began working on me with baseline ultrasounds, blood work, genetic tests, etc. I had polyps and ovarian cysts so Dr. Foulk performed a hysteroscopy and explained that it would remove the polyps and leave my uterus nice and smooth for implantation. We then started the medications and procedures for the egg retrieval. I don’t remember what medications I used for the retrieval or fresh transfer prep, (Gonal F was one of them) but will be doing another egg retrieval soon enough to help remind me. We did ultrasounds often to watch the progress and effectiveness of the medications I was taking to make sure my eggs were growing appropriately etc. We also did blood work often to monitor all my levels. While we were waiting on my genetic results we prepared for a fresh transfer, I did daily shots in my tummy, again I don’t remember the medication or doses. But the day before the fresh transfer was scheduled my genetic testing came back positive as a carrier for CF as well so we weren’t able to move forward with the fresh transfer and had to send the embryos for genetic screening. That took a few months, and after we got our embryos back from the genetic testing we prepared for a frozen transfer. For each of the frozen transfer cycles I was on active birth control pills, took 81mg baby aspirin daily, prenatal vitamins, and then injected .15 ml of estradiol valerate IM (glutes) each Tuesday and Friday evening, then about 2 weeks later I added 1 ml IM injections of progesterone in oil daily in the mornings. I did a z-pack the week before implantation, neupogin intravaginally (before two of the frozen transfers), and intralipid infusions and another hysteroscopy tonremove my polyps again, prior to my last frozen transfer. I am about to begin the same round of meds again for the ERA.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Utah Fertility Center. (Assigned nurse: Danica )
My coordinator is the absolute sweetest. She goes out of her way to make sure that I am taken care of and comfortable with all of the procedures etc. I did feel like sometimes there was a lapse in communication between us and the scheduling etc. But she always made sure to fix things promptly when I brought it to her attention or reached out to her with concerns.
Describe your experience with Utah Fertility Center.
I sometimes felt that the office staff were removed from the emotions of the whole process and that they forget that this whole journey can be really hard on many patients. I would like to have seen a little more compassion from the office staff. I felt frustrated a few times by the lack of communication between staff, appointments not making it onto the schedules, or lack of financial communication that caused unnecessary stress and anxiety. Overall everyone is kind and helpful, just make sure you are following your own treatment plans, payments, etc. and stay on top of things on your end so you don’t fall through the cracks. I sometimes felt forgotten about, and some of that sentisitvity is likely from all of the medications I was taking. I kept going back because I love Dr. Foulk and Dr. Conway and I am confident that they know what they are doing. Towards the end of my treatments I felt like the staff got better and were warmer and more personable.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Russell Foulk at Utah Fertility Center.
We did one egg retrieval and fresh transfer cycle for close to $10,000. Medications were additional. Hysteroscopy was around $500 plus $400 for anesthesia each time, and frozen transfers were about $3,000 plus medications. Genetic testing on the embryos was done at an external lab.
Describe Russell Foulk's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Utah Fertility Center.
Dr Foulk was very clear about the risks of putting in multiple embryos etc, but he always let me and my husband decide what we felt best about after he educated us. He wasn’t pushy. We put two in each attempt until this last round when we only had one left.
What specific things went wrong at Utah Fertility Center?
- Lost appointments
- Failed to call with results
- Provided conflicting information