How was your experience with Valerie Shavell at The Fertility Center of Michigan?
Dr. Shavell was very thorough from the very first consultation. There was a lot of information to take in but it provided me with everything I needed to know and to further research myself. Any questions resulting from my research and conversations with others in similar situations were always received positively and answered appropriately no matter how silly some questions may have sounded. She was more available to the nurses than me, however. She did not conduct the 7 IUIs but still communicated with the nurses before starting the next round. Although she was not available to conduct my laparoscopy, she did my pre-op and post-op and made sure I was very comfortable and doing well. Most recently she did my sonohysterogram and mock embryo transfer and was very gentle and calming through the discomfort. She ensured all parts were in working fashion to proceed with IVF in the coming month.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Valerie Shavell at The Fertility Center of Michigan?
If you feel like you need a face to face meeting, do not be scared to call and make the appointment. It can be difficult playing phone tag with the nurses who have to communicate with the doctors and then back to you. It can be time consuming, especially if you miss phone calls due to work or other daily activities.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Valerie Shavell at The Fertility Center of Michigan?
Dr. Shavell was always kind and sensitive to the nature of our conversations. When it was time to delve into the more difficult news, the information was provided in an informing and caring manner. Our meetings weren't rushed. After providing a certain amount of information she always asked if I had any questions instead of dumping a ton of information at once and waiting until the end to ask if I had questions. It is always difficult to remember so much, but with the breaks for questioning between information, it made it feel more human and personable.
Describe the protocols Valerie Shavell used in your cycles at The Fertility Center of Michigan and their degree of success.
The first test I had completed was an HSG. Everything looked perfect with no signs of obstructions. Dr. Shavell mentioned there is some research showing women getting pregnant in the following three months. Unfortunately that was not the case for me.
We started a cycle of clomid in December 2017 with a trigger shot of Ovidrel followed with an IUI. A negative pregnancy was the result. We continued with the same protocol for 3 more IUIs. Dr. Shavell provided statistics that show IUIs increasing positive outcomes after 3 IUIs, again they all resulted in negative pregnancy tests.
We had a meeting with Dr. Shavell to discuss the next steps. She stated she would like to see my egg quantity and quality response with a protocol of pills and injectables with IUI. We switched to letrozole pills as I started having very bad headaches and long lasting nausea with clomid, and added Gonal F 75 IU daily, triggered with ovidrel followed with IUI. We did this for 2 rounds and both resulted in negative pregnancy tests. However, there was an increase in the number of follicles and size.
At this point I could not continue to see negative tests and chose to take a month off. We met again and discussed having a laparoscopy to inspect the outside of my anatomy. We had a good pre-op conversation consisting of laparoscopy information and IVF information. The laparoscopy resulted in finding and removing stage 2 endometriosis. Dr. Shavell wanted to try IUI again now that we found a potential cause. We did IUI with letrozole, gonal f, and ovidrel. Another negative pregnancy test.
That was the final IUI. Being that I was provided with IVF information a few months prior, I decided to schedule an IVF consultation in January 2019. The meeting was with an IVF nurse and she provided all the procedures,medication, and protocol information Dr. Shavell wants me to do.
I was scheduled for a Sonohysterogram and mock embryo transfer with Dr. Shavell February 7, 2019. Here she wanted to get a better view of inside the uterus to ensure there weren't fibroids, polyps, scar tissue or other abnormalities that would prevent implantation. Everything looked just fine for implantation and the mock transfer went smoothly as well.
Dr. Shavell will carry out my egg retrieval and embryo transfer in March 2019.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The nursing staff was fairly easy to communicate with. In most cases I left voicemails for them and they would call back. Some of my messages may have been long and it seemed like they may not have listened to all of it at times. Regardless, they still answered my questions after getting them on the phone and mentioning it again.
The nurses carried out the IUIs and were as gentle as possible and comforting. They were able to provide information regarding the seman sample prewash and postwash prior to the IUI.
The IVF nurse who did my IVF consult was very thorough and informative.
Describe your experience with The Fertility Center of Michigan.
The clinic has a lot of staff so you may not always be familiar with who you are speaking to. The billing department and front desk staff have had billing miscommunications within their computer system. The front desk staff would have us pay off our entire balance and then I'd receive a bill for services we already paid for and they would say what we paid must have been applied to a different procedure balance. No one could actually identify the issue so we just paid what they said we owed and we haven't had a problem since. The clinic is very clean and well organized. Be aware, that some fertility clinics have separate areas for those with no children and not pregnant and those who have children or currently pregnant, this is not one of those clinics. You will frequently walk into the waiting room where there are multiple children per family. Anyone of the more sensitive nature may feel uncomfortable.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Valerie Shavell at The Fertility Center of Michigan.
We do not have infertility insurance, however we do have coverage for monitoring and some procedures such as the HSG and laparoscopy which resulted in significant savings.
Ultrasounds performed at one of their smaller locations (Mason) were typically $180 or $75 after insurance. However, if it was one of the Doctors that did the ultrasound as an ultrasound technician wasn't available, an extra $30 was added. If they were done at the Grand Rapids office, regardless of who did it, an extra $30 was tacked on. The bill would show it as a meeting, even though no meeting took place, it was just the ultrasound.
IUIs were out of pocket. For the semen wash and the procedure it was $500 per IUI, we did this 4 times. Pricing changed and the IUIs were then $600 per, we did this 3 more times.
The laparoscopy was a reasonable and fair price.
For IVF, we will be paying $9,867 just for the procedures. This price includes the $1,850 we paid for a case management fee. We have a $8,017 balance due at the end of February 2019.
Describe Valerie Shavell's approach to eSET (elective single embryo transfer) vs. multiple embryo transfer at The Fertility Center of Michigan.
Dr. Shavell provided statistics on the success rates of single vs. Multiple embryo transfer along with specific criteria as to why a two embryo transfer is ideal for me. As I do not meat criteria for increased high risk pregnancy, we both agreed a two embryo transfer is ideal. She made sure to discuss the possibility of selective aborting if there were more than 2 or 3 developing babies.
What specific things went wrong at The Fertility Center of Michigan?
- Provided conflicting information