Describe your experience with University of Pennsylvania Penn Fertility Care.
It's more like a doctor's office than a clinic. For example, I happened to go with a friend to another fertility clinic and it felt more comprehensively about getting you pregnant -- almost a marketing thing, really. Since Penn is a research hospital it was much more about --here's our latest research study, you can sign up, and just more of a doctor's office. I was more than happy to participate in the research though and appreciated being part of that, and I knew that my doctors were up on the latest research and treatments. I have heard that there are other clinics that are just focused on numbers, numbers, numbers, and they are potentially more aggressive with drugs etc, I don't know details on that, but I never felt that way at Penn and felt that I was part of a great health system and system of doctors, nurses and researchers who were contributing to the greater good and also getting us a baby. (Who is the best thing that's every happened! He is so awesome!)
During treatment, did you feel like you were treated like a number or a human?
The nurse accessibility and care was very good. -- there are a lot of doctors in the practice, and I really liked pretty much all of them, but not a ton of consistency in who you saw, it just depended on the day you went in. At no point did I feel like a number rather than a human even though they clearly had a "process" but that made it more efficient I thought.
Describe your experience with your nurse.
Brenda was efficient and available. Sometimes I felt that she was a little overwhelmed with having a lot of work, and a couple of times I wasn't sure she quite remembered the specifics of my case. But she was always available when I needed her and I really appreciated her letting me text her. I would have random questions about this or that and she was very patient with me in answering them and always answered quickly. That helped me so much because I didn't have to pick up the phone and call her every single time.
How was your experience with Kurt Barnhart?
I didn't spend a whole lot of time with Dr. Barnhart, but when I did he was very knowledgeable and informative -- he was kind of science-y, but I liked that because we were dealing with lots of scientific info, probability, and various medical and scientific choices we had to make. So I liked him. But he isn't the warmest, fuzziest doctor, and he only did some of my procedures due to scheduling.
What one piece of advice would you give a prospective patient of Kurt Barnhart?
If you're looking for a warm and fuzzy doctor with a communicative bedside manner, he's probably not your doc. However, if you're interested in someone who knows the latest research, is really into statistics and facts, and has seen the latest treatments and tons of patients, that's his specialty (in my mind). I spent a lot more time in his personal office than I did in a patient/clinical room.
Describe the protocols Kurt Barnhart used in your cycles and their degree of success.
He started with the least interventionist, IUI, but quickly recommended I consider switching to full IVF when our first attempts weren't successful. I think they expected, due to my numbers and my husband's previous experience, it to be more successful than it was the first time, but then when it wasn't he encouraged us to "step it up" and I was glad about that. He didn't seem focused on success in numbers, though -- he seemed focused on success with me as an individual in having a baby. He was thoughtful about how many embryos to put in, and he knew how to explain my choices at each step of the way and letting us know when there was really no right answer -- and when there sort of was a "right answer" if we wanted to up our chances of getting pregnant. I can't remember the specirics of my protocols -- I did lots of injections and they had me doing the progesterone shots for 10 full weeks after I got pregnant, in order to help the pregnancy succeed . . .
Describe the costs associated with your care under Kurt Barnhart.
Everything was covered under my health insurance and the process that I had to go through with it was very efficient and easy to navigate with the staff person working on it.