Describe your experience with VCU Medical Center.
I've been very happy with VCU. Everyone there, from Amouri and Shawna at reception, to Tanya with the financial stuff, to the nurses, has been great. The clinic has a very calm atmosphere. I hear from friends who have done IVF in bigger cities and have described how stressful sitting in the waiting room is. That is definitely not the case at VCU. Being in a smaller clinic is great. The staff also gets along so well with each other (they seem like a family), and I think that probably creates the great atmosphere.
One thing to be aware of is that VCU does IVF cycles once a month. So all of the patients start the cycle on the same day. That means that you sometimes need to get "on the list" in advance, and that you may have to wait a month or two before you can start. That has been frustrating.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Dr. Durso is kind of awkward. That didn't bother me too much -- I don't need a doctor that I want to hang out with, just a doctor that can get me pregnant.
Given that she's been treating fertility problems for so long, though, I was kind of surprised by how insensitive she could sometimes be, or that she wouldn't realize that certain things would be upsetting. For example, she told me that my ovaries might have cancer cells, which of course really upset me -- but she seemed surprised when I started to cry. I think she would genuinely try to connect with me, but that just isn't her strength.
The nurses at VCU are amazing. I learned to rely on them for the emotional support.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
The staff at VCU is simply amazing. They have made this whole infertility ordeal so much better. When I talk to other women with fertility issues, I always urge them to go to one of the VCU doctors simply because the nursing staff will make the whole thing so much better.
How was your experience with Nancy Durso?
I started seeing Dr. Durso after my husband and I weren't having any luck. We didn't know what was wrong, and Dr. Durso was able to figure out that I actually have pretty bad endometriosis. She did a laproscopic surgery, and I thought she did a really good job with that. After doing some research, I learned that the biggest concern with that procedure is the risk that the surgeon could damage your ovaries, or cause some other complication that will affect your fertility. I found that Dr. Durso did a great job, and I really appreciate that.
The surgery didn't have any complications, and gave her more info about what was going on with my body. She adjusted my plan after that, and advised that we would almost certainly need to pursue IVF.
We did a number of rounds of IUIs. Dr. Durso performed 3 of those, and based on scheduling issues (holidays, weekends), another doctor and a NP at VCU performed the others.
We did one cycle of IVF with Dr. Durso. We were able to retrieve a decent number of eggs, but only half of them were mature. Half of those fertilized, and all of the fertilized eggs stopped dividing. This wasn't great, and apparently my eggs might have some problems. I don't think Dr. Durso did a good job talking to us about this. We had already been planning to try more IVF cycles, but she didn't want to change any of the plan. My sense was that she didn't believe that she could get us pregnant. That was the reason we decided to change up and work with someone new.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Nancy Durso?
Write down questions and ask questions. Dr. Durso isn't great about telling you information. But, if you ask her questions, she'll answer them fully. It's more like she just doesn't think about bringing things up on her own.
Ask questions about what is going on with you, what she recommends and why, and whether there are other plans that you could try. Make sure that you know the practical things.
Also -- make sure that if you're going to do IVF, that she actually puts you on the schedule!
Describe the protocols Nancy Durso used in your cycles and their degree of success.
For IUI, we did a few rounds using Femara. Those weren't successful.
For the IVF cycle, we did Menopur / Gonal-F, then Ganirilex and HCG trigger shot. This cycle was ok. We got a good number of eggs, although only half of them were mature. Just a note -- I don't have any hormone issues, so I think the above protocol is her "standard".
Describe the costs associated with your care under Nancy Durso.
The costs for each IUI round were around $550 or so.
We did the IVF Guarantee program with ICSI, which gives us 6 full cycles for $22,000, and we get a refund if this doesn't result in a baby. We still have to pay $500 for anesthesia for egg retrievals, and we pay for medicine out of pocket. With the VCU pharmacy, meds are around $700.