Describe your experience with ART Fertility Program of Alabama.
The Montgomery clinic is a small satellite clinic for the main office in Birmingham. The doctor is only at the satellite office when visiting a new patient. All interactions with the doctor from the satellite clinic are via video conference. The Montgomery office is small, but I've never had to wait more than just a few minutes to get back to a patient room.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Tracy is a very good listener. She's honest, compassionate and optimistic, which is exactly what you need when you're going through this process. She, too, has gone through treatments, so she understands the whole process from the patient's side.
How was your experience with Virginia Houserman?
Dr. Houserman is very realistic, without being overly blunt. She will answer any questions you may have, but over my entire course of treatment, I've only seen her a few times. Almost all of my interactions have been through the Nurse Practitioner. If I do "meet" with Dr. Houserman, it's a teleconference. If I want to meet in person, I have to drive to Birmingham, which is over 2 hours away. When she comes to the Montgomery clinic, it's only for new patients. It makes me feel like a level of personal understanding of my needs and goals is not being met.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Virginia Houserman?
She is practical and realistic. She is not overly soft & sensitive, so if you're looking to be hugged and coddled, she is not the doctor for you. She is warm and kind but matter-of-fact when it comes to prognosis, treatment, etc.
Describe the protocols Virginia Houserman used in your cycles and their degree of success.
I have PCOS. I initially went to Dr. Houserman years ago, but my follicles would never grow to maturity to do a trigger shot. I was concerned about my weight, and I wasn't having cycles on my own. She told me it was a non-issue, as my treatments were essentially controlling my hormones and their roles for me. I took a break for over two years. I lost 40 pounds, and came back to her for treatment again. When I visited her for a new consult, she said they weightloss was great, but another 40 pounds would be even better. I was confused because years earlier, it seemed to be a non-issue. Anybody who's ever gone through fertility treatments knows what a difficult task it is to lose weight while injecting all of these meds. I didn't lose any weight during the next 7 months of treatment, but I didn't gain any either. My follicles definitely responded better this time, as I was ready to trigger just 10 days in! I went through 7 months of treatments, each ending with a negative beta. I started out with clomid+menopur for a couple of cycles, then just menopur, then increased menopur, then follistim+menopur. The longer I continued with treatments, the slower my follicles began to grow. It's as if my body was just tired, and nothing was working. I met with her a couple of months ago, where she told me I had made a 'valiant effort', but it was time to move on to IVF.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Virginia Houserman.
Insurance did not cover IUIs, so out of pocket they were around $400 per cycle. IVF starts around $11,000 per individual cycle.