How was your experience with Steven Sondheimer at Penn Fertility Care?
Dr. Sondheimer is very kind and compassionate. He takes the time to fully understand your story and your goals. I felt like I was very prepared for all of my procedures (HSG, IUI, egg retrieval), and knew I was in good hands. After my first miscarriage, he called multiple times to see how I was doing, both physically and mentally. I never felt like he was rushing me out of his office, and he treated me like family.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Steven Sondheimer at Penn Fertility Care?
Ask every question you have! Write them down and take your list with you. He will take all the time he needs to answer them.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Steven Sondheimer at Penn Fertility Care?
Dr. Sondheimer and his nurse would personally call me back when I called with questions. He was so incredibly kind, especially after my first miscarriage, which was before I was in treatment with him. When I had to leave the practice due to insurance changes and a move out of the area, he called to tell me that he would always be there to support me in what I needed, and that he would love to keep in touch about life, good news, and my professional career (I'm a physician). I never felt rushed with him, and he made sure I felt cared for at a very vulnerable time in my life.
Describe the protocols Steven Sondheimer used in your cycles at Penn Fertility Care and their degree of success.
I did a stimulation protocol as follows:
1. Lupron for 10 days
2. Start Gonal-F
3. Add Menopur
4. hCG trigger shot
I had monitoring appointments daily during stimulation. I have PCOS, so there was a slight concern of OHSS. My doctor retrieved 23 eggs, 19 of which fertilized. 8 of those matured, 5 were frozen on Day 5, and 3 were frozen on Day 6. I don't recall the exact grading, but my doctor assured me that they only ever froze embryos they thought would be successful as FET's.
Describe your experience with your nurse at Penn Fertility Care. (Assigned nurse: Madeline)
Madeline was the best! She fully explained everything and called me daily with updates to my medications and treatment plans. The rest of the nurses with whom I interacted in the office were also great. They were all very friendly and helpful.
Describe your experience with Penn Fertility Care.
This clinic has many strengths, in my opinion. It is relatively easy to get an appointment within a reasonable timeframe for consults, and they are flexible with scheduling for labs and ultrasounds. They have a very knowledgeable financial counselor who works with insurances to get coverage when possible. They do all of their labs in-house, and results are reported relatively quickly. They have their own embryology labs directly connected to the OR's where they do retrievals, which is great. They require IVF education sessions before beginning a cycle, which is really helpful for getting questions answered about the process in general and what to expect. At the Market Street location, there is street parking, but there is also a garage and they will validate your parking so it's only $5, which is great for Philadelphia! I have not been to the other 2 locations.
The only weakness that I can report is that your primary doctor may not be the one doing all the procedures. They do have fellows there who are training, but they are well-supervised by the attending physicians.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Steven Sondheimer at Penn Fertility Care.
I was very fortunate to have insurance that covered fertility treatments entirely. I paid copays for my appointments. The embryo storage fee I believe was $550 for the initial freeze + 3 months, and then $225 billed quarterly after that.
Describe Steven Sondheimer's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at Penn Fertility Care.
I did not have an embryo transfer yet, but my doctor usually recommends single embryo transfer, because transferring 2 doesn't significantly increase your chance of pregnancy, and also to avoid the risk that comes with carrying multiples.