How was your experience with Stephanie Dahl at Sanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine?
We first met with Dr. Dahl in August of 2018. We were sent to her due to male infertility. She instantly connected with us on a very personal level and made us feel comfortable from the start. She explained all the possible diagnoses, tests, and labs. After going over a complete history with my husband and I she said her assumption is my husband is a cystic fibrosis carrier. We did genetic testing, which confirmed that diagnosis. With the diagnosis of a double carrier for CF, she instantly talked about available options and connected us with urology and a genetic counselor. For my appointments, I was always excited to see her because she made me feel at ease. She always explained to us what the ultrasounds were showing, what medication changes to make and the rationale. We always felt very informed and that she had our best interest at heart. She connected us to all the right medical staff and resources, and felt that overall she cared about us individually and as a couple. She shows great care and compassion for her patients and shows enthusiasm for the job she does.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Stephanie Dahl at Sanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine?
I would recommend writing down a timeline of your appointments. I kept a notebook that had our appointment and what we did at that appointment, what was discussed, what labs or ultrasound results were, etc. Another thing I would recommend is always writing down questions you have. She is more than willing to answer questions and to take the time to have open discussions about any topics with fertility and health.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Stephanie Dahl at Sanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine?
Dr. Dahl was always very compassionate and empathetic throughout our IVF journey thus far. She has always cared about how we were doing during the process, connecting us with available resources, and always talking with us on a personal level. She has always been a great advocate for us and our future.
Describe the protocols Stephanie Dahl used in your cycles at Sanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine and their degree of success.
The only way for us to conceive is through IVF. The first round I was started on progesterone only birth control due to a clotting disorder we did not want to use estrogen. I had my baseline labs which were all within normal limits and started on Follistim/Gonal F 300 units. I was unable to use menopur due to a dairy allergy. I continued on for 5 days of "stims" and labs all were within the range that was expected, but I had discordant growth with my follicles (2 large and 2 small follicles). At that time we decided to stop with this first round of medications and restart.
The second round I did use a birth control with estrogen but then took lovenox injections during that time. I was started on gonal F 375units. On day 3 after labs we increased the dose to 450 units. On day 6 I had 4 follicles, day 8 I had 6 follicles that were all growing at the same rate and appropriate size to lead up to an egg retrieval. After a few more days of stimulation it was time for the trigger shot which we used Lupron. We successfully retrieved 5 eggs, and 3 successfully fertilized. We did PGS testing on our embryos. We had 1 chromosomally normal. We had a different provider do our transfer due to the timing of it, which did not lead to a successful pregnancy. Since then, Dr. Dahl has met with us and talked about the future options and different medication protocols to try.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The nursing staff have been great! They are quick to respond to messages, easy to talk to, and keep you very informed during the process. They don't have one specific nurse assigned to you, but you usually work with the same two or three nurses. We have always felt like they care about us and are willing to help however they can. Each nurse seems to enjoy their job and are passionate about what they do.
One thing I wish is that you did have one specific nurse or coordinator assigned to you that is your go to person for everything. I also feel like they should give you a calendar with your appointments and specific medications with dates at times. They do give you papers. information, and send specific messages that clarify all that information but an individual patient calendar would be helpful.
Describe your experience with Sanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine.
Overall we love our clinic. I feel that it was the perfect fit for us. It is kind of crazy to me that it is one of my favorite places to go because its where we get closest to making our family. The clinic is separate from other facilities in our town so it is nice that it has its own space. They have it well set up for the waiting area, ultrasounds, appointment rooms to meet with the doctors, area for labs, and rooms in the back that are secluded for procedures. We feel that the team works well together including the receptionist, providers, nurses, financial counselor, genetic counselor, lab techs, etc. One thing I really appreciate is that they have a financial counselor right in the clinic who can work personally with you. Our nurses have been great about trying to get us the best connections to pharmacies and coupons to make the medications as cheap as possible and we appreciate that. I feel there are so many positives about our clinic and the team. I don't have many weaknesses to point out. I would say that overall I wish they would just go more in depth about each medication, each procedure, and have a specific nurse or person who oversees the entire process for you, but if you have questions or concerns they are always willing to take the time for you and answer all questions.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Stephanie Dahl at Sanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine.
Overall we feel that the cost at the clinic seems to be average for IVF in our area. They do pair up with ARC fertility so that is an option for patients to look into for "plan" options. We did have some insurance coverage so for us it was best to use our insurance first before using other resources. When you first start with the clinic and before you start IVF they have you meet with the financial counselor to discuss cost and prepayment. We were given a break down of costs for trial transfer, cycle monitoring ( which included 5 office visits, 7 lab draws, some ultrasounds), egg aspiration with ICSI, freezing of embryos, thaw and transfer, and post IVF lab work. Also if you plan to do PGS testing they have you pay part of that cost up front. We did end up having some confusion with insurance, but the financial counselor was so willing to look through each bill, each charge, and even contact our insurance to help make the process run smoother. Even during visits with Dr. Dahl she would mention an approximate cost of testing and let you know if she thought if it was covered by insurance or not. We really appreciated that. We also felt that she would include us in on the decisions and what is best for us to get the results we want and can financially afford.
Describe Stephanie Dahl's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Sanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine.
From the start we primarily talked about a single embryo transfer. She did say it would be an option for us to do 2 embryos but we felt it just depended on our situation and the number of embryos. We only had 1 embryo to transfer so that made the decision easier because 1 embryo was our only option.