Describe your experience with Jones Institute at West Penn Allegheny.
My husband and I had a very unique/challenging male infertility situation, and the Jones Institute bent over backwards for us to do whatever they could to help achieve our goal of starting a family. We had such personal treatment at their office from EVERYONE… literally from the receptionist, to the nurses, to the financial coordinator to the embryologist. The entire staff was always so hopeful and positive, even during the most difficult times. And when we FINALLY had success, I cannot tell you how excited they were for us! We received three personal phone calls from different staff members congratulating us the day our pregnancy test came back positive! Although our journey was much longer than we originally anticipated, I am so happy that we went through it at the Jones Institute. I cannot stress the level of personalized care we received there and how invested the staff is in their patients. I still think about them all the time and will be forever grateful for the gift they have given us!
Something unique about the clinic is the office is located in McCandless, but egg retrievals and embryo transfers are done at the surgery center in Allegheny General Hospital on the Northside (IUIs are performed in the McCandless office). Also the frozen embryos are stored at the hospital.
They do bloodwork and will perform IUIs on Saturdays, but the office is closed on Sundays. They will do egg retrievals and transfers any day of the week, including holidays. My first retrieval was on Memorial Day and had an IUI done on Labor Day.
They do batch scheduling for IVF. So they perform all IVF patient's retrievals and transfers during the same week in each month. I had to take birth control pills to delay my cycle to get onto their schedule.
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
Dr. Hecht made such an effort to get to know my husband and I. He knew what we both did for our jobs and asked about them at every appointment. He always used our first names to say hello if we saw him in the waiting room. He was easy to talk to and used humor to make us feel comfortable. If something was urgent, he would call me on his personal cell phone to let me know what was going on.
Describe your experience with the nursing staff.
The nursing staff is wonderful. They also make great efforts to know you personally and show great care and compassion. I have shed many tears with them during the tough times, and when we finally had success, I could just tell they were as excited as my husband and I were!
My only critical comments... 95% of the time, if you call and leave a message, they do return your phone call the same day, but there were a few times they did not call me back, which for a fertility patient, was very stressful to have to wait until the following day to try and call again. Additionally, I personally did not like it when the nurses performed the IUIs. There was one nurse that did them well, but when one of the other nurses performed one on me, it really hurt! After that, I always requested that the doctor performed my IUIs (which he did without hesitation).
Otherwise, they were always helpful when explaining the process, medications and answering all of my crazy questions!
What specific things went wrong at this clinic?
- Failed to call with results
- Lost or damaged samples
How was your experience with Bryan Hecht?
My husband and I will be forever grateful Dr. Hecht. I was a patient at the Jones Institute prior to his arrival and we had little to no progress in our treatment until he arrived. He provided us with ideas and options to try and conceive in the simplest and least expensive way possible. Once we exhausted all of those options, unfortunately we did need to move onto IVF, but trust me, he worked with us to try EVERYTHING we could to avoid this. We had quite a long journey with Dr.Hecht, and I am so happy to say that after about a year of medicated cycles, we finally had our success. He was with us every step of the way…. he was our physician first, but also showed us so much empathy and compassion during the difficult times. My husband and I appreciated his ‘hugs, high fives and humor’. Additionally, he was always open to the suggestions we brought to the table to enhance and personalize our treatment. And I will just say, his clinical skills when doing a pelvic exam or an IUI are excellent. I have had other OBGYNs who were HORRIBLE in this area, but there were times when I didn’t even feel him insert the speculum. This is truly a skill! Overall, we loved Dr. Hecht and are so sad that he moved back to Ohio.
In full transparency though, I have had friends that have seen Dr.Hecht and were turned off by his sense of humor and candidness. While I can understand their feelings, for my husband and I, this is exactly what we needed. We have always been an open book about our situation and truly valued having a doctor who could be just as open with us. Infertility is a personal struggle. Find a doctor that fits your personality and lifestyle. We saw 3 different REs before Dr.Hecht and we knew with certainty that he was the best fit for us. Who knows, maybe for baby #2, we’ll make the two hour journey down the turnpike so we can work with him again :)
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Bryan Hecht?
Don't be turned off by his sense of humor. He truly has your best interest at heart and wants you to succeed.
Also, don't be afraid to be your own advocate. He is open to your suggestions. For my second egg retrieval, he wanted to keep my stim protocol the same as for the first, but I wanted to be more aggressive to possibly retrieve more eggs. We worked together to come up with a treatment plan which increased my meds slightly, but still protected me from developing OHSS, and for the second retrieval, we got TWICE as many eggs as the first! I really nice that we had an open patient/doctor relationship, and I felt comfortable approaching him with my ideas.
Describe the protocols Bryan Hecht used in your cycles and their degree of success.
May 2015 - IVF #1 - Follistim 200, Menopur 50, Ganirelix and Ovidril trigger. I stimmed for 12 days, had 9 eggs retrieved, 5 were fertilized and we transferred 2 day-3 embryos. No embryos made it to freeze. This cycle ended in a chemical pregnancy.
July - November 2015 - 5 IUI's - each month, did 5 days of Letrozol, tracked ovulation with OPKs, and triggered with Ovidril. All 5 IUIs ended in negative pregnancy tests.
December 2015 - IVF #2 - Follistim 200, Menopur 75, Ganirelix and Ovidril trigger. I stimmed for 9 days, had 19 eggs retrieved, 10 were fertilized and we transferred 2 day-3 embryos. 5 day-3 embryos made it to freeze. This cycle ended in a negative pregnancy test.
March 2016 - FET #1 - vaginal estrace and prometrium for uterine priming, plus baby aspirin. Thawed and transferred 2 day-3 embryos. This cycle ended in a negative pregnancy test.
May 2016 - FET #2 - vaginal estrace and prometrium for uterine priming, plus baby aspirin. Thawed 3 day-3 embryos, and allowed them to develop to day-5.
One embryo did not survive the thaw, one embryo developed to 8-cell stage, and one embryo became a blastocyst. Transferred the 8-cell and the blast. This cycle ended in a POSITIVE pregnancy test.
Describe your experience with your monitoring appointments.
The monitoring appointments were always in the morning, which was great for me. I always liked to try and get the first appointment at 6:45 or 7:00am so I could go straight to work afterwards. The ultrasound technicians do not work in the afternoon, so there are no afternoon appointments.
Describe the costs associated with your care under Bryan Hecht.
My treatment was mostly covered by insurance, so there may be other fees that I'm not aware of, but for me, these were the costs:
- IVF egg retrieval & fresh embryo transfer - $9500 (including assisted hatching and ICSI)
- Frozen embryo transfer - $3750
- Embryo freezing - $1200
- Annual embryo storage - $400
- Annual sperm storage - $400
- IUI - $950
- Medications - we were blessed to have all meds covered by insurance, so I don't know what these costs were.