Describe your experience with Advanced Fertility Care of Arizona.
The rest of their office staff is always very friendly and asks how things are going. No matter how many times you go, they always remind you to use the restroom if you have to or other little things that makes you feel like they care about your experience as well. The only issue we had was with billing once and it was related to our portion out of pocket for the last required IUI — AFC told us we needed to pay the deductible and then 10% of the cost (which was how we had read the insurance documents as well). However when we got the EOB from our insurance, we determined that we were really only supposed to pay a $35 copay. AFC quickly got this resolved and put it on our account as a credit toward embryo freezing fees since we were in the middle of our IVF cycle by the time it all got billed, reviewed, and paid by our insurance company. We did have embryos to freeze so it didn’t matter but we were also assured that if we didn’t have embryos to freeze, we would be reimbursed the appropriate amount.
One piece of advice: Know what your insurance does and doesn’t cover ahead of time.
How was your experience with Frederick Larsen?
I was impressed at our first visit that Dr. Larsen himself spent so much time seeing us. He went through the most common causes of infertility, provided data regarding infertility, and then went through each and every test that we would go through to determine a cause of our infertility (if possible). Not only did he provide all this information verbally, he wrote it all down and then gave us that information to keep for our reference. Beyond that, he had a packet of preprinted information related to infertility FAQs, information about the testing process, etc which allowed us to feel quite comfortable when it was time to actually go in for all the testing. Once we completed the testing, we went back in and met with Dr. Larsen again to go through all of our results and our potential next steps. (I have heard of many others that see the doctor for their initial consultation but then once all the tests are done, they see an NP or PA to review their results and let them know the plans.) Once again, Dr. Larsen reviewed all of potential options, risks and benefits of each, chance of conceiving per cycle with each, as well as standard FAQ type documents. After seeing Dr. Larsen, we met with some of the ladies in billing to discuss the costs of each different type of service and provided handouts with that information.
From then on any time I would call to start a new cycle or schedule an appointment, I could typically be seen either first thing in the AM or late in PM which worked best for my own work schedule. The only time I didn’t see Dr. Larsen or Dr. Z was when I only had to do blood draws — otherwise every single ultrasound, scan, IUI, etc was completed by one of the doctors. After my first failed IUI, Dr. Larsen and I discussed the game plan going forward and decided to increase my dose of clomid to hopefully improve my chances. When that didn’t work, we moved on to Clomid with Gonal F — which ended up causing some side effects. After that failed IUI, when the RN called with my negative pregnancy test, I asked for the next game plan, Dr. Z called me back within the hour (Dr. Larsen was on vacation that week) and explained to me what we should consider going forward — I felt quite comfortable that Dr. Z had reviewed my chart and knew what I had previously tried to know what to recommend next. He once again answered all my questions and told me to call back or email if anything else came up. We did one more IUI with Femara and Gonal F — which was unsuccessful.
After the 4th IUI, my husband and I decided to move to IVF after the first of the year (we were transitioning to insurance that covered IVF) but spent an hour meeting with Dr. Larsen to review the entire process from day 1 to day of the pregnancy test so that we would feel comfortable. We reviewed all of the potential risks as well as the clinic’s data in terms of success. We were once again provided with a handwritten sheet that covered all of the necessary information as well as preprinted FAQs about the process and common meds as well as the needed consent forms. With the change in the new year, we learned our new insurance required a 6th ovarian stem cycle, so we did the last IUI but once again Dr. Larsen adjusted my meds to try to give me the best outcomes. When that was not successful, we began IVF. The day after my initial scan, I received a calendar that provided me with important dates regarding when to start and what doses of meds to start. The office was VERY helpful when the pharmacy had trouble getting some of the meds authorized from my insurance and quickly completed the necessary forms on their end. Prior to the initiation of the lupin, gonal, and menopur, my husband and I went to the office and saw one of the RNs for about 30-45 minutes of education on injection technique and process for each other meds. It is worth noting that they said typically the appointments are longer but I work in health care and therefore knew how to do the injection technique for the most part which sped up the process. We also finalized all of our consent forms and went from there. Throughout the rest of the IVF cycle, I either saw Dr. Larsen, Dr. Z, or Dr Kummer (their newest associate) for every ultrasound and received a call or email from the office regarding adjustments to my medications. The retrieval and transfer process were flawless as well with Dr. Z and Dr. Kummer coming in and speaking with my husband and I prior to each for 5-10 minutes and asking us what questions we had. I felt quite comfortable during the entire process — the other benefit to me was the retrievals/transfers were done right at their Scottsdale office which I was quite familiar with already from all my other appointments so that helped decrease my nerves for the whole experience. After the retrieval, I was told how many eggs had been collected and then was called every day to every other day with updates on how many fertilized, got to 8 cells, and got to blastocyst stage. When we went for transfer, it was recommended to only transfer one blastocyst just based on the quality of them; my husband and I had already thought we only wanted one but it is important to know that they definitely push for single embryo transfers due to the risks of multiples with more embryos. I recently found out I was pregnant from the initial IVF — one thing I REALLY appreciated was that Dr. Larsen himself and others from the staff were on the phone to call me for my positive pregnancy test — after all that time, work, money, emotional toll, it was nice to hear it from the Dr himself and not just one of the staff — it really made me feel like I wasn’t just another patient in their clinic. I am now going every other day to every 3rd day for my HCG levels and get calls from the staff with the numbers and the plan to make sure I stay in the loop. I truly could not be happier that we chose Advanced Fertility Care as our first (and only) fertility clinic as I fully believe we have received amazing service and care.
Just as a side note about the personalized care, my husband and I participated in the RESOLVE Walk for Hope and Dr. Larsen was there and while I doubt he knew our names, he did recognize us both, say hello and ask how we are doing. It just makes me think back to my friends and colleagues that have seen their actual Dr once or twice and always seen an NP, PA, or RN since then and agains makes me realize how great of care we really get from AFC.