Describe your experience with Houston Fertility Institute.
Strengths: ease of scheduling; can always communicate via the portal; nice to see all lab results, instructions, and consent forms on the portal; personal staff; on time every time with appointments; professional; financial counselor was good at clarifying what was covered by insurance and what was not; treatment costs were very transparent.
Weaknesses: don't take phone calls during lunch; make sure you read the consent forms ahead of time because front office staff expects you to sign without reading (they did offer to print the consent form when I complained that I was just signing electronic pages without reading, but it turned out that it was really really long and would have made me super late for my appointment to read it at that time)
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Dr. Kim remembered every detail about my health and care with every visit. He always took the time to answer all of my questions and encouraged me to contact his office if I thought of others after the visit. He took time to explain the ultrasounds and test results. The one time I had a concern, he made time in his clinic schedule to see me immediately and verified that everything was going well.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
Great caring staff! We bonded since we were seeing each other so often. I got to know them on a personal level. They were very good at clarifying instructions and responding in a timely manner. I could send an email to them at 7pm and would often get a reply email the following morning at 8am. They were always able to accommodate my crazy personal schedule. Vanessa Jones even offered to come to my house to teach my husband how to do the IM shots since he could not make it to the clinic for instruction. I was impressed she cared so much.
How was your experience with Jonathan Kim?
Dr. Kim is very personable and very knowledgeable in his field. He practices evidence-based medicine based on our many discussions about recent fertility advancements. I appreciated his realistic statistics which helped me shape realistic expectations. His bedside manner is very gentle and genuine. I wish that he could continue to be my OB/Gyn throughout my entire pregnancy. He wanted to personally participate in my IVF procedures and even did the implantation on a Saturday because that was when my body was ready. He listened to my concerns and needs every step of the way. It was important to me to transfer only one embryo, as I am personally fearful of twins. Our first singleton transfer was a success! I could tell he really enjoyed sharing listening to the first heartbeats with us. It was special to him, not just the 1000th time for him.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Jonathan Kim?
Feel free to ask your questions. Bring as much prior fertility workup information with you to your consultation so that he can review it with you and start the ground running from there.
Describe the protocols Jonathan Kim used in your cycles and their degree of success.
My issue is PCOS and anovulation. So we first tried a clomid cycle, confirmed that 2 follicles were ready, triggered their release, and had intercourse for 3 days as directed. This was a cheaper option than starting with IVF, although he projected a success rate of about 9%. Thus, we were not especially let down when we had a negative pregnancy test, but we were happy that we had started with the easiest and cheapest option. We then tried a different hormone (can't remember the name), found that 1 follicle was ready, triggered ovulation, and did IUI twice (on 2 consecutive days). We knew again that our projected success rate was still low, and we had a negative pregnancy test. At this point Dr. Kim had a discussion with us. We could choose to increase the aggressiveness of the hormones and try IUI again or we could proceed to IVF. Dr. Kim mentioned that trying the more aggressive IUI cycle had a higher risk of multiples and a much lower success rate than IVF. We decided to proceed with IVF. I underwent the egg retrieval process. I produced 50+ follicles since I had such a high ovarian reserve (PCOS). He harvested 29 and then inactivated the others (because who needs that many eggs?). I never had to take any pain medication afterwards. He was very careful to make sure that I did not experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) by changing to a lupron trigger shot. After the retrieval, I was concerned that I could be developing OHSS, so I called his office and he had me come in immediately. He examined my right away (I don't think I even finished signing in at the front) and found that I was doing okay and gave me some directions. I recovered quickly. Back to the eggs. 29 eggs were harvested, 19 fertilized, and 12 reached the 5 day blastocyst stage. We did genetic testing. 6 had normal chromosomes. We were very glad we did the genetic testing. The nonviable embryos would have likely resulted in miscarriages and disappointment. So even though the genetic testing was expensive, we felt we probably saved money, time, and heartache by avoiding futile IVF cycles. We waited a month for my body to recover from the retrieval, and then we implanted a single genetically normal 5-day blastocyst. Dr. Kim showed us our first baby photo - a picture of our embryo hatching - before the procedure. He came in on a Saturday to do the implantation, as that was the best day for my body. He showed how he was placing the embryo on the ultrasound and took a photo for us. We felt that he made the process special for us. We did the bed rest thing for 3 days and then the waiting game began. Dr. Kim told me when I could cheat with a home urine pregnancy test if I wanted. So I did cheat and it was positive! But of course, I waited to get excited until the official blood test was done. Dr. Kim monitored our very early pregnancy up until we were 10 weeks along. I did an estrogen patch, estrogen sublingual pills, and IM progesterone shots up until 10 weeks. Everything progressed as usual. Hearing our daughter's heartbeat for the first time was so special for all of us in the room, including Dr. Kim. He was genuinely excited for us. We can't wait to send him our birth announcement in the future! I have recommended Dr. Kim to all friends having fertility issues. As a physician myself, I have also recommended him to my patients as well.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Jonathan Kim.
The cost was comparable to other fertility locations.