How was your experience with Virginia Houserman at ART Fertility Program of Alabama?
Strengths were that I did eventually get in to do an exploratory laparoscopic surgery to evaluate the structure of my reproductive organs.
Weakness - Although I had already been trying for over year and a half to get pregnant before I came to Houserman, it still took her over 7 months to give me any kind of diagnosis and she was willing to suggest I do costly fertility treatments, even if my problem could have prevented them from having any chance of working. I went to Dr. Houserman the first visit and gave her a comprehensive list of my health problems (heavy, long periods; back pain; pelvic pain; pain during intercourse; bowel trouble and bleeding bowel). What I know now is that all of these symptoms were reason to look into whether my problem was endometriosis. Instead, she prescribed me fertility medications which contained estrogen, which makes endometriosis worse and increases the inflammation, which decreases the chance of an egg getting fertilized and implanting. I feel like the 7 months and the hundreds of dollars I spent on fertility injections were a complete waste of time and money.
Weakness - they do not do excision surgery on endometriosis and perpetuate the false information that burning off endometriosis with a laser will treat it and increase your chances of fertility. In reality (there is scientific evidence to back this up), the endometriosis can grow back as soon as the month after the surgery, so there is no guarantee that you have any period of better fertility. Instead of referring endo patients to an excision specialist, they continue to prescribe fertility meds and recommend iui and/or ivf without telling you anything about your decreased chances in those working if the endo grows back.
Weakness: Do not give you any information on the possibility of any of your problems being cancerous. I went in the month after my lap surgery and was told I had a 7 cm cyst on my ovary and not given any information on the type of cyst, the precaution I should take to not increase the chances of the cyst growing bigger, or given any reason as to why a cyst that large popped up in a mere 3 weeks after my lap.
What's one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Virginia Houserman at ART Fertility Program of Alabama?
Do your research on all possible infertility problems before you visit her and if you think you might have a particular problem that they have not looked into or diagnosed, push for the specific tests that can diagnose that problem. Also, set your boundaries with her up front to let her know if you do not have the financial means to do iui or ivf. That way, she knows to be honest with you and tell you there is nothing more she can do to help you besides doing one of those procedures. It will eliminate wasting more time and money.
During treatment, were you treated like a number or a human with Virginia Houserman at ART Fertility Program of Alabama?
No, I felt like since I had to go to a satellite office (since it was the closest of their offices to me), I had a lot of ultrasounds with no discussion at all about what was going on. If I wanted to see the Dr., I either had to schedule a video conference, which took over a month, or I had to drive an additional 2 hours to the main office, which still took over a month to get in. During the video conferences, I felt like nothing was discussed in depth and I was given short answers, if any at all. We never got to the bottom of the problem of what was wrong with me, I was just always encouraged to do iui, even though my husbands' sperm was tested and proven to be more than good two times. Even though I felt that I had endometriosis and was told there might be a polyp in my uterus, I was still told to try iui until I pushed hard for exploratory laparoscopic surgery. I was not even told the lap was an option until I was 6 months into the treatments. I initially thought they would study my case individually, not just push me into a treatment that was not specifically designed to treat my condition.
Describe your experience with your nurse at ART Fertility Program of Alabama. (Assigned nurse: Sheena)
They had one nurse practitioner at the Montgomery satellite office. Her name was Sarah and she was the only person who would give you medical information or evaluate your records and ultrasounds. Most of the time they would not schedule you with her. They would schedule you with the regular nurse, Sheena, who would not even look at your ultrasound or tell you anything about it. She would not volunteer info about test results. You had to ask her and pull it out of her. All she did was look at the plan Dr. Houserman created for you and ask you if you were ready for her to put the prescription in to the mail order pharmacy. So, unless you saw Sarah, there was really no point in even having an ultrasound. Unfortunately, as of last week, Sarah is no longer there and it is only Sheena.
What specific things went wrong at ART Fertility Program of Alabama?
- Lost paperwork
- Failed to call with results
- Failed to order appropriate test
- Lost results
- Provided conflicting information
- Failed to convey critical information
- Failed to consider drug intolerance
Describe the specific things that went wrong at ART Fertility Program of Alabama.
They never gave me the results of my PCOS or blood clotting test. When I followed up with the nurse, Sheena, and asked about the PCOS results, at an appointment for bloodwork, Sheena told me "it's possible." I asked her to elaborate and also tell me why I was not told. She said there was one area that my levels were elevated, but I was probably not told because they probably just entered the "it's possible" result so that my insurance would cover it. I was even more confused and worried than before I took the test and still have not received any kind of explanation about this.
I had my baseline testing at the beginning of my cycle that I was going to try iui for the first time. I was really excited and hopeful since I had just had a lap and supposedly my uterus was clear and all organs looked good to conceive. During my baseline ultrasound, I was told I had a 7cm cyst and I did not need to have sex or have my cycle followed at all. I was in complete shock. No one told me what kind of cyst or gave me any instructions for care. They just scheduled me for an appointment to come in for another ultrasound 2.5 weeks later. That is a long time to question what is going on with yourself, could it be cancerous, could it burst. I am still waiting for that appointment.