Describe your experience with IVFMD South Florida Institute For Reproductive Medicine.
The whole clinic itself is very welcoming. The actual office is very clean, easy to find, etc. The staff is great start-finish. Stephanie at the front makes a great first impression on behalf of the entire office. She is the insurance guru and saved me A LOT of money. There were a few times when appointments ran late, but for the most part we were seen on time and without a hassle. I could honestly cry happy tears knowing that we were taken care of so well. Vicki and Jennifer are two of the most skilled nurses I have ever met. Katie was new when I was finishing up, so I did not get to know her as well, but she was so pleasant every time I saw her, and seems like she is just as well-equipped as Vicki and Jen. The staff in the back (the embryologist and other folks you don't really see as much) were also very warm and encouraging. Everyone always had a smile on their face, and jumped to help whenever we needed it. Leaving was very bitter-sweet.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Dr. Alford and her staff were the most caring individuals I have ever met in a doctor's office. They knew me, knew our history, etc. They took great care of us, emotionally and physically. When I cried, they hugged me. When we got the positive pregnancy test, they were as excited as we were. When we went crazy, they calmed us down. When we lost hope, they gave us hope without ever getting our expectations too high. Honestly, they were so amazing that I cried when I finally graduated because I knew it meant I would not see them again until it is time for baby #2.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The best on the planet. I wish I could link to my google review because I just wrote a book about them. The nurses were very knowledgeable, first of all. They were gentle, caring, compassionate, kind, etc. I had a bad fear of needles when I started going in. They held my hand, hugged me, and truly got me over my fear! something a professional psychologist could not even do! The nurses were there to comfort me when IUI failed, and were as excited as I was when the IVF resulted in a positive pregnancy test. They always took my calls, answered my questions, and responded to my emails. They kept us well-informed of what they were doing, why they were doing it, what it all meant, what was going on, and what was next. I seriously cannot say enough good about the entire staff.
How was your experience with Connie Alford?
When we had our first consultation, we were scared. My husband felt like there was a little bit of a sales pitch going on. However, in hindsight, he has completely re-evaluated and now understands exactly why Dr. Alford told us everything she told us. She was honest about the testing we needed to have done. Even though it was unlikely to uncover a problem, it did uncover a problem - a fixable one. Dr. Alford truly cared about solving the mystery of our infertility. She was very present - in other words, if I had questions/concerns, she was there to answer them in a clear, concise, and honest way. There was no beating around the bush or false hope. In fact, she set our expectations low. She told us to hope for 3 viable embryos. We got 7. Even when we got a positive pregnancy test, we were cautioned about getting through the first trimester. Dr. Alford was usually there when I had weekend appointments. She was excited and happy when we got pregnant. I think she really cared about us as people, not just patients.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Connie Alford?
Don't be alarmed by the plethora of tests she wants to run, or the list of things that could be wrong with you. Dr. Alford knows what she is doing and I promise it will make sense when all is said and done. If she is recommending that you do IVF, it isn't to make money. It is because it is the best decision for you medically. TRUST HER.
Describe the protocols Connie Alford used in your cycles and their degree of success.
When we went to Dr. Alford, we had no reason to suspect anything would be wrong with me. I was a perfectly healthy 30 year old, non-smoker, non-drug user, no prior miscarriages, appropriate weight, etc. Turns out I had a VERY low AMH (low ovarian reserve). My husband also had some male-factor infertility but he was overall not the concern. Thus, we were advised to try IUI 2-3 times. HOWEVER, we were advised that with such a low AMH, if the IUI works, it might be our only child because i might have no eggs left by the time we can have a 2nd. My first cycle of IUI, I took clomid (150 was the dosage, whether mg or however it is measured). I had 3 eggs mature (2 in one ovary, 1 in the other). Negative pregnancy test (HCG indicative of no fertilization). We did the exact same thing for round 2, except this time I had 4 eggs. I cannot recall if there were 2 and 2 or 3 and 1 (in each ovary). Again, negative test. By the way, my periods each time were horrifically bloody and painful. Fair warning. Additionally, each cycle of IUI was coupled with blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor and measure the follicle growth. We did NOT use an OPK. The method used by Dr. Alford is way more accurate. We used a TRIGGER SHOT each time. I do not know the name of the drug.We also did a "double" each time, which means we did insemination at 24 hours and again at 36 hours.
After that, we decided that it was not worth it to try a 3rd time. So we decided to try IVF (which, by the way, was the hardest decision we've ever made). For IVF, we started with birth control for about 2 weeks. Then kind of a "fake" period, followed by injections. We started with 2 daily injections: "5 menopur" which was 2 vials of powder, and gonal-F. I think the Gonal F was 225 IU, but i am not sure. After bloodwork and ultrasounds every 48 hours for about 5-6 days, we added a 3rd injection: Cetrotide. These were individual, disposable needles so i do not know the dosage. We continued these 3 injections every night until I think day 8 or 9. Then we increased the dosage of the Menopur and Gonal-F. I think we did 3 menopur and increased the gonal-F to about 300 (not positive), and did that for 1 or 2 nights. Then we did the trigger shot. I do not know the name of the trigger, but it was a different trigger than the IUI, and a much bigger needle (plus, it went in my upper butt muscle - it doesn't hurt NEARLY as bad as they say!!!). By day 7 or 8 i was going in every day for ultrasounds and blood. When we did the IVF retrieval, 36 hours after the trigger, I took a valium 5mg, then they gave me something that made me feel awesome (maybe hydrocodone?), and anesthesia. I fell asleep with pants on and woke up with no pants on and a bloated stomach. NOT FUN! But we got 12 eggs. 11 fertilized. 7 made it. We had hoped for 2-3. Once we did the transfer, i began vaginal progesterone (1 mg or g, not sure - 2x per day) and estraidol (not sure of spelling). The progesterone was a gel, estradol was a pill. It was gross and i had to wear pads. Because the pregnancy was successful, I continued these two drugs through 12 weeks of pregnancy. I am currently 14.5 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby.