How was your experience with Timothy Hickman at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF?
Dr. Hickman seemed to be very knowledgeable and sensitive at the same time. He explained our options without imposing an specific course of treatment. He also detailed his rationale for each treatment option and let us free to decide which and when. I feel pretty confident I found the right doctor for me and may return if needed in the future.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Timothy Hickman at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF?
Trust his experience.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Timothy Hickman at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF?
Before consulting Dr. Hickman I had many biases against using reproductive assisted technology and had experienced patronizing behavior from other medical doctors which I disliked. Dr. Hickman treated us with respect and explained his hypothesis in clear terms, in a humble manner and with regard for our concerns.
Describe the protocols Timothy Hickman used in your cycles at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF and their degree of success.
Because ours was a case of "unexplained infertility", Dr. Hickman strategy was to begin from the less invasive procedures and gradually move towards the more complex procedures. Both me and my husband have been tested and already identified a slight but important alteration in my thyroid which I already begun treating. After assuring that eggs, sperm, fallopian tubes and uterine cavity are fine, next step was a cycle of Clomid and IUI. We also chose to do a genetic screening which was really helpful to decide that trying IUI was still a viable option. However, our first IUI failed and based on lower odds of success - specially because of the recently diagnosed endometriosis, Dr. Hickman suggested we should go change strategies and try IVF. It took us some time to decide and trust him in this journey. The first stage was the hardest, understanding and managing the medication was emotionally overwhelming. Thankfully, my body responded well and by retrieval we've got 18 eggs. About 16 fertilized and 8 survived the first week to become embryos. From the 8 embryos, 4 were correct, 1 uncertain and 3 incorrect. Great results paid off the, so far, most terrifying thing I've ever faced. As recommended by Dr. Hickman, we opted for a frozen embryo transfer and postponed the transfer to 3 months after we returned from a trip to South America (CDC recommended due to Zika threats at the time). The pause allowed my body to recover well. As I prepared to the transfer, my body responded well again to the medication. Our first transfer was done with one single embryo, the one that looked the strongest and with more chances of success. Dr. Hickman was very confident and said we had a 70% chances of success. Unfortunately, the transfer resulted in a chemical pregnancy. Dr. Hickman did not know exactly what went wrong but explained that IVF is never guaranteed, and everything indeed looked promising. He also encouraged us to take our time and if we decided to try again, he still believed in the same odds as we had other strong embryos available. I was heartbroken and needed a couple months to process the experience and gather courage and hope to try again. We planned the dates carefully to make sure we would be relaxed and calm during the 6 weeks prep to transfer... it paid off! For this second attempt at transfer, Dr. Hickman did not change any protocol but I changed pharmacies, just in case, and increased my self-care. Knowing what to expect was very reassuring and gave me strength this time around. Our second transfer developed into a healthy pregnancy, now on its course. Dr. Hickman always kept his bedside manners and even though our contact was always brief, he seemed genuinely interested in helping us achieve our desired pregnancy.
For those who are wondering why they can't get pregnant and have not found any answer yet, I highly recommend talking to him.
Describe your experience with your nurse at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF. (Assigned nurse: Holy Davis)
I had one nurse assigned for the IUI. She seemed knowledgeable but was always in a rush, acting with less warmth that I would like. For the IVF I had a different nurse, much nicer. She was a great communicator, even though she seemed a bit disorganized at times. In my first round, I was very overwhelmed by the medication administration and feel that even though she tried to explain them in a simple way, it was all gibberish for me and I did not feel she could get how hard that was. At that time, it made me feel they did not care about me as a person, only my bloodwork numbers. I did a lot of research on my own, discovered techniques to apply injections less painfully and other things I felt they should have offered me since they know about them more than I do and the treatment is very expensive! Nevertheless, everything she said would happen regarding dosage and bloodwork happened exactly as she said, so I had to acknowledge that. On my second attempt, I feel my nurse and I were already in better terms.We already knew each other (the clinic is so busy that I understand they can't be close to everyone), I felt more confident about administering the medication, and fundamentally, trusted her. She always returned my calls and explained every single question with patience. I definitely appreciate her.
Describe your experience with CCRM Houston/Houston IVF.
The clinic is a peaceful environment. It seems to be a lack of coordination regarding lab results and it's a little complicated to access your your information (currently there are 2 portals, not very clear or integrated). Staff has been partially helpful with orientation, and financial office is a mess.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Timothy Hickman at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF.
The initial visit, lab tests, medication I needed for thyroid and genetic counseling, with our insurance, have been under $1,000. Our insurance however does not cover much more than diagnosis. For Clomid and one cycle of IUI it was about $2,000. For the IVF including freezing embryos for a year, one transfer, and medication it was about $ 30,000. Second transfer was about $5-6,000 - not sure anymore.
Describe Timothy Hickman's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF.
We've done single embryo transfer because of my good chances of getting pregnant on the first attempts. Even though my first transfer failed and let me wondering if it was the best decision, I still agree that it was the best approach for my family at this moment.
What specific things went wrong at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF?
- Failed to call with results
- Provided conflicting information
Describe the specific things that went wrong at CCRM Houston/Houston IVF.
Neither my husband or I could ever see our bloodwork results online. We also had lots of trouble getting a descriptive receipt to justify our spends on the HSA card. Non-returned calls or e-mails. Receptionist at checkout not very helpful or friendly - in contrast with medical staff.