How was your experience with Steffen Christensen at Sanford Fertility & Reproductive Medicine?
Dr. Christensen's greatest strength is how personable he is. The whole infertility process was new for us, i.e. our first cycle/doctor/appointments. He took the time every appointment to thoroughly explain what was going to happen, what we should expect, what typical results would be, and how they would deal with atypical results.
This was evident in the appointments up to and including the egg retrieval. Dr. Christensen did a walk through of how the egg retrieval day would go several appointments prior. Then a two days prior, he covered it again with specific attention to how my follicles were progressing, how long they anticipated the appointment to take, and how many eggs they hoped for. He has adjusted my medications to lower amounts to focus on egg quality versus quantity, and told us they hoped to retrieve 5-15 eggs. Day of retrieval, Dr. Christensen met with us before heading to the procedure room, made sure we were ready, asked about any more questions, and seemed just as happy for us to have made it to this day as we were. The procedure (before I fell asleep) was professional and scripted, and Dr. Christensen checked on me frequently. It was very reassuring as the nurses prepped the room. As soon as the procedure was over/I awoke, Dr. Christensen was there, big smile on his face to tell me they had retrieved 23 eggs. But, he also cautioned and took proactive measure to help prevent OHSS as he suspected based on the number I may struggle with it (I did, but not nearly as bad because of the extra care and proactive medications he prescribed). This was the level of care, attention, and investment Dr. Christensen showed throughout our treatment!
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Steffen Christensen at Sanford Fertility & Reproductive Medicine?
Do not be afraid to ask the blunt questions - he's okay to see you cry. He can handle dealing with hormonal/emotional type questions. Don't downplay if you are experiencing mood swings, he's very sensitive to how you react to various medications, and wants to minimize the unnecessary effects as much as possible.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Steffen Christensen at Sanford Fertility & Reproductive Medicine?
Every time we met with Dr. Christensen, he would spend the first few times chatting about our jobs (which he remembered exactly what we do), or spend time casually talking about how I was doing emotionally with the process. He genuinely cared that I stayed stress free (as much as possible) and relaxed, offered suggestions, or joked with my husband about taking me out to a nice dinner. He spent the extra time to care about my mental health throughout the entire process and not just the medical procedures.
Describe the protocols Steffen Christensen used in your cycles at Sanford Fertility & Reproductive Medicine and their degree of success.
Our overall plan was to first try 3 or so rounds of IUI, and if they were unsuccessful, then to discuss further options.
During the IUI cycles, Dr. Christensen chose to use Femara, as in his experience it had better results with PCOS patients. After 2 unsuccessful IUI cycles, Dr. Christensen was the first to suggest our efforts would be better spent exploring IVF than to continue with unsuccessful IUIs. He used how I reacted to the medications during the IUI to predict which IVF medications and dosages to use. He elected to use 150 units of Menopur and 150 units of Gonal F for the IVF cycle. Being I was growing more than 20 follicles, he lowered the Gonal F to 75 units mid cycle to lessen the number of follicles producing eggs. He explained over crowding can cause lower quality eggs, and quality was better than quantity. He prescribed Ganirelix to prevent ovulation, and a Lupron and HCG trigger. Results were 23 eggs retrieved. 18 mature. 14 fertilized through ICSI (due to male factor low mobility) and frozen. We elected to do PGS (our choice, no pressure from the clinic or Dr. Christensen), and 5 tested normal.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
As you progress in the process, you only work with a handful of nurses (2-3), and each was just as caring and compassionate as the next. They took every concern with great care, and made sure to be prompt in answer any questions, or assisting with the process. Nearly every Dr. visit was followed up with written instructions from the nurse to ensure that you had all your instructions. They also set up majority of the appointments for you on your behalf based upon the Dr.'s timeline.
Describe your experience with Sanford Fertility & Reproductive Medicine.
The clinic is family! Its a small clinic, and the number of nurses, doctors, and staff that you see is limited - so they know you. They are there with you along this journey. The clinic has all the supplementary support you need through the process. Nurses who help get in touch with the right mail-order pharmacies. Financial adviser who explains every charge and provides documentation before any of the process begins, as well as suggests programs to assist with the costs of infertility treatments. A genetic counselor who can discuss the pro/cons and results of PGS or PGD. They even can coordinate on site acupuncture services if you elect to do so.
All the people you don't realize you need when you begin your infertility journey - they're all here conveniently waiting to help and guide you.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Steffen Christensen at Sanford Fertility & Reproductive Medicine.
2018 Projected Costs (All provided up front to every patient prior to care)
Trial Transfer - $566
Cycle Monitoring - $3921
Egg Aspiration with ICSI - $6622
Freezing of Embryos (up to 4) - $1995
Thaw & Transfer of Embryo - $4126
Post IVF Cycle - $442
Additional Embryo Freeze - $200 each
PGS (14 embryos) - $3800
Describe Steffen Christensen's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Sanford Fertility & Reproductive Medicine.
We elected to do a single transfer for a number of reasons. First, my age and health were big indicators to contribute to a healthy pregnancy, as well as no previous miscarriages. Second, the embryo physical grade and genetic results indicated high quality. Lastly, the trial transfer was very successful and no problems for actual transfer were anticipated.
Dr. Christensen felt that a transfer of multiple would result in a multiples pregnancy. He was very concerned about the health of the pregnancy as well as the health of the mother, and urged us to transfer a single embryo. We agreed.