Describe your experience with Kettering Reproductive Medicine.
I was incredibly happy overall with my experience at this clinic. I appreciated the HGTV marathons in the waiting room and the lack of obnoxious baby pictures bragging about successes. They have a monthly support group, which I think is a great idea; I would have loved to participate, but the 1.5 hour drive was too much for me. Oftentimes my appointments started late, but never more than 15-20 minutes, and I realized as I spent more time there that things ran behind because the staff was so dedicated to making sure that everyone had a good experience and felt good about their own appointments. You can't go wrong with Dr. Bidwell or his colleague, Dr. Karnitis.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Dr. B took the time (which ended up being a long time) to go over our test results and answer any questions we had. He had pictures/diagrams and patiently discussed treatment options and concerns. When I'd make self-deprecating comments about myself (fairly common occurrence as treatment went on), he'd admonish me like I was his child and tell me not to think like that. His staff is absolutely phenomenal and the nurses were always prompt with returning calls and were particularly empathetic.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
Oh, these nurses. These ladies absolutely rock. All of them (especially Doan, Nicole, Shelby, Ann, and Colleen) were compassionate, organized, knowledgable, and just all-around awesome ladies. They cried with me during the good and bad times. The office staff were always very well-organized as well; I never had any issues with insurance or scheduling appointments.
How was your experience with Mark Bidwell?
Dr. B was fantastic. He was straightforward in his answers and information, but never blunt or abrupt. He told us what his recommendation was (medicated IUI) but did not push us to that path and allowed us to do some medicated timed intercourse cycles. He let us go through this at our own pace, which was incredibly helpful. He wasn't always my doctor (my cycles just happened to sync up on days when his colleague, Dr. K, or a nurse was the one giving ultrasounds) but I was always able to get an appointment with him to discuss next steps when necessary and he was the one who performed my successful IUI.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Mark Bidwell?
He tends to think out loud on occasion, which can be scary when he's saying "Hmm.. interesting..." but don't let that scare you. If you need clarification on something, then ask for it and he will gladly give it to you.
Describe the protocols Mark Bidwell used in your cycles and their degree of success.
I met with my RE for the first time in November 2016 and began what he called "the investigation period." Lots of tests later, we discovered that my husband had low morphology (2%), my AMH was high (8.6 ng/ml), and my 7DPO progesterone was 8.7 ng/ml unmedicated; my RE likes to see at least a 10 for unmedicated cycles and a 15 for medicated cycles. Based on these findings, my RE recommended we go forward with fertility drugs and IUI. We asked to continue with timed intercourse for the time being and he agreed.
Here is my cycle breakdown for the timed intercourse cycles:
Clomid 50mg for 5 days, unmonitored.
Clomid 50mg for 5 days, monitored. Follicles weren't growing well, so they upped my dosage to Clomid 100mg for 5 more days, during which I ovulated on my own. 7DPO progesterone was 19.7 ng/ml.
Clomid 100mg for eight days, monitored. Ovidrel shot to trigger ovulation. 7DPO progesterone was 17.7 ng/ml. Faint positive tests and blood work showed a chemical pregnancy.
Clomid 150mg for six days, monitored. Ovidrel shot to trigger ovulation. Started taking Metformin this cycle. 7DPO progesterone was 33.9 ng/ml.
Clomid 150mg for six days, monitored. Ovidrel shot to trigger ovulation. 7DPO progesterone wasn't checked after great number during previous cycle.
Letrozole 5mg for five days, monitored. Ovidrel shot to trigger ovulation. 7DPO progesterone was 17.8 ng/ml.
At this point, we were frustrated and ready to move on to IUI. Before that, we wanted to be sure both of my tubes were clear since we were paying out of pocket for the procedures. Since I had mentioned my history of harsh period cramps at my first RE appointment, he was able to code the procedures as something other than infertility with insurance, so they were completely covered. I had my hysteroscopy and laparoscopy in July 2017; the RE found completely clear tubes and a healthy uterus, meaning the blockage shown in my HSG the year prior had been a spasm.
Armed with that knowledge, we moved forward with IUIs. Here are those cycle breakdowns:
Letrozole 7.5mg for 5 days, Ovidrel shot to trigger ovulation, second Ovidrel shot 5DPO to keep my progesterone levels up (my RE prefers this to progesterone supplements unless absolutely necessary). Post-wash stats: 36.4 million count. 91% motility, 4 on the forward progression scale. 7DPO progesterone levels of 27.8 ng/ml.
15mm cyst discovered at CD3 ultrasound. Benched for this cycle.
Letrozole 10mg for 5 days, Ovidrel shot to trigger ovulation, second Ovidrel shot 5DPO to keep my progesterone levels up. Post-wash stats: 34 million count, 92% motility, 4 on the forward progression scale. Faint positive tests and blood work showed a chemical pregnancy.
Letrozole 10mg for 5 days, Ovidrel shot to trigger ovulation, second Ovidrel shot 5DPO to keep my progesterone levels up. Post-wash stats: 37 million count, 90% motility, 4 on the forward progression scale. Made the choice to abstain from sex after 3DPIUI due to slight bleeding (first time we chose to do this). Positive home test result at 16DPIUI. Beta that day came back at 326 with my progesterone level at 59. Second beta at 20DPIUI came back at 2,132. Third beta at 24DPIUI came back at 7,900.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Mark Bidwell.
My insurance covered fertility drugs and ultrasounds, but no procedures. I paid maybe $4 per cycle for Clomid or Letrozole, and each Ovidrel shot was around $10 out of pocket. The semen sample wash cost $150 and the actual IUI procedure cost $185, both out of pocket. We were also paying for OPKs (specifically ClearBlue Advanced Digital kits) and various supplements out of pocket at the recommendation of our doctor.