Describe your experience with UPMC Magee.
A weakness is that anytime you call in you get the voicemail. And if you're like me and can't take personal calls while you are working it ends up being unending phone tag with the nurses. If you want very specific questions answered be sure to ask otherwise they'll just tell you things "look okay" without giving you actual results/information. The nurses don't always know why you are there on a given day and there seems to be a lot of miscommunication at times. Be prepared to advocate for yourself. It is so very important for you to understand what you are doing and why, and what each visit is for, and what the expectations are for your cycle. You are your own best advocate! You need to take charge of your own care and be sure that you are being provided the best care possible. The strengths would be having Dr. Menke on their staff as she is wonderful.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Dr. Menke was so compassionate and treated me with kindness and understanding. It was obvious that she truly cared about my feelings throughout treatment, as well as my health and getting results. She was always very thorough in explaining things and took the time to answer every question.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
In the beginning I had a lot of issues with the nursing staff - scheduling appointments, knowing why I was there, having prescriptions called in, getting specifics of my results. It was very frustrating and if it hadn't been for Dr. Menke I would have switched to a different practice. Things seemed to have improved a lot in the past 4 months though. Everyone there seems in a better mood and they seem to be running a little smoother now.
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Failed to call in prescriptions to pharmacy
- Lost appointments
- Failed to order appropriate test
- Failed to convey critical information
How was your experience with Marie Menke?
Dr. Menke did two laparoscopies on me, multiple medicated cycles, IUIs, and eventually IVF. My first IVF cycle was cancelled before we ever made it to retrieval because I only had 3 mature eggs when expectations were for a lot more. She took the time to call and go over all of the details, talk about next steps and what we would do differently. I had been so upset that I really didn't absorb everything and had a lot more questions the next day - she called me back and went over everything again and answered all of my questions. She helped prepare me for the next cycle and was encouraging that we could get much better results with a different protocol, knowing how my body has reacted to medications in the past and with injectables. The new protocol (estrogen priming) worked much better! We made it to retrieval, transfer, and even have 5 embryos that are frozen! I am cautiously expecting right now and Dr. Menke is following that until I can be released from their office. I really feel she went above and beyond my expectations - she seemed to anticipate my needs (emotionally and otherwise) and tailored her treatment to my specific case. I will be glad when I don't *have* to see her anymore but will miss her and the excellent care she provided me!
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Marie Menke?
Don't be afraid to ask questions or to have her explain things to you! She will, and she'll ensure that you understand.
Describe the protocols Marie Menke used in your cycles and their degree of success.
My successful IVF cycle used the estrogen priming protocol. She chose that for me as my previous IVF cycle (and previous medicated cycles) never produced more than 3 follicles. Since my antral follicle count suggested I should get many more she suspected that I may have premature ovarian aging. She didn't want to risk over suppression by using birth control pills or lupron, and so estrogen priming it was. That would allow receptors in the follicles to open up and basically "wake up" my sleepy ovaries so that they'd accept the hormones and actually grow. My follicles grew slower (which was a good thing!) and I required more medication at higher doses, but in the end it was very effective and I ended up with good quality embryos. Out of 11 mature, 9 fertilized, we transferred the best looking one on day 3, and 5 made it to day 5 to freeze. We are cautiously expecting our first child now.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Marie Menke.
I was fortunate that my insurance covered the cost of all diagnostics and IUIs. Medications were not covered, and everything associated with IVF was out of pocket. They provided a list of what everything would cost up front, some things were optional, so we were aware of what we were getting into with IVF.