Describe your experience with Southwest Fertility Center.
Strengths include you can call and ask questions and expect an answer that day or early the next day. You can also get in for appointments quickly and work within the unpredictable nature of your cycle. The weaknesses include some office organization and protocol. All staff should introduce themselves every time and we often had to call to get test results.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
The people (MD, RNs, NPs etc.) were very caring and took our special case (my partner travels for work which complicates this journey) into account. However, the RNs consistently did not introduce themselves. I think it's a small enough clinic that they just forget who they have personally met and whose case they just know of. It felt odd to have a transvaginal ultrasound or be inseminated by someone whose first name you don't know! Otherwise, they were very kind and knowledgeable.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
The office seemed to suffer for lack of an office manager. We frequently had to call in to get even time test results (after being told we would receive a phone call). On one occasion they forgot to put my name on the schedule (although they accommodated me at the time I was told of my appointment anyway). I always have lots of questions and prefer when I'm given clear explanations that do not dismiss my concerns. Some nurses had a communication style that I think was meant to be caring and comforting ("honey stop worrying your little head about that, I can make babies in my sleep!") but I found belittling and dismissive. This was not my experience with all of the nursing staff, others were very direct, patient, and understanding.
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Lost appointments
- Failed to call with results
How was your experience with Sujatha Gunnala?
She was patient and seemed knowledgeable. She answered all our questions and was understanding about our special circumstances (partner travels for work which complicates this journey). She was direct as possible. I would like a clear reason why this isn't happening for us, but I'm not sure a clear reason exists. #infertility
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Sujatha Gunnala?
Make sure you write down questions before hand and take notes in your visit. I think this is important with all providers, but I think it's especially important in this office, not so much because of Dr. Gunnala, but to make sure what you understand is also what's communicated to the rest of the care team.
Describe the protocols Sujatha Gunnala used in your cycles and their degree of success.
I came into her care at the end of a cycle with clomid (50mg) and an at home DIY IUI. She had me take a pregnancy test (neg) and set the course for cycle 2 (or 1.5 really). In that cycle, I took a "clomid challenge" so 100 mg clomid days 3-7 with an FSH test on day 3 and day 10. This was to test my ovarian reserve, since a previous blood test showed I had low a low AMH level. The "Clomid Challenge" seemed to go well, my numbers suggested that the AMH level was an outlier. I wish it were clearer to me if this means I am NOT diagnosed with low ovarian reserve. Dr. G said I only have 1/4 indicators so not to worry about this.
Under the clomid challenge, I had 6 maturing eggs. The RN said I would likely ovulate cycle day 13 based on my ultrasound. This would be a very early ovulation for me, I usually ovulate cycle day 17-19. I did what looked to me like a surge on my OPK and went in for IUI on cycle day 12. I continued to take my BBT and noticed that, even by cycle day 16 my temp had not spiked. I called and insisted that they check to see if I had in fact ovulated. With some convincing, they agreed, and cycle day 17 they checked my progesterone. I had not ovulated! Cycle day 18 I went in for an ultrasound and more blood work. This showed that I was starting to ovulate, and that evening I felt some serious ovulation cramps. The ultrasound suggested I would ovulate with 4 eggs (thanks, clomid!). Cycle day 19 (and the day I had, through previous cycle monitoring, predicted I would ovulate) I went in for IUI #2. Unfortunately IUI 2 my partners #s were lower, 8.4 million post sperm wash, but it only takes 1 and I had 4 eggs, so you take what you can get!
Unfortunately, that IUI did not take. I had a neg blood test cycle day 28 (10 days Post Ovulation and IUI#2). They had me take a second blood test cycle day 32 and I started my period Cycle day 33, with much sadness. Our understanding is that this cycle plan was aggressive (to do the clomid challenge and an IUI in the same cycle) and that Dr. G did this because she knew we had a challenging time line with my partner's work/travel.
The doctor had discovered that I had a small uterine polyp in my original work up (during the clomid challenge). She said this is not in and of itself a reason for infertility, but said it would be smart to remove it in case it is malignant or results in problems during an eventual pregnancy (if it ever happens! please let it happen!). We had agreed to remove the polyp after the IUI cycle if it was unsuccessful. After this unsuccessful cycle, we realized that the cycle with the surgery would be a lost cycle (having been scraped of polyps, my uterus would most likely NOT be up for implantation). We also knew that we would be leaving town in April and unable to seek care from her or any other doctor (my partner travels for work, so we move about every 3 months, which complicates this journey). We asked if, given the size of the polyp and the complications of our calendar, we could try for another IUI cycle in March and then complete the polyp surgery in April, when the cycle would be lost to care anyway. The doctor declined this request. She felt the polyp needed to be removed.
I had the polyp removed yesterday, I was out for the whole procedure and felt groggy but completely fine today. We are disappointed that we'll likely have to wait until May for any forward progress to continue, but understand why the doctor proceeded as she did.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Sujatha Gunnala.
We spent about $2500 on our various tests, visits, and two IUIs.