Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Second Opinion (Second Thoughts)

I have to preface this by saying that when we started fertility treatments, we did our research and asked around before we settled on our original choice of RE. We didn't take cost into consideration at all. The clinic we just visited for our second opinion was presented to us a few times as being a really excellent and less expensive option (and my acupuncturist went so far as to say it was better than our original choice), so we were confident that we chose the best for the first go around, but had this highly recommended back-up for our second opinion.

The best word to describe the second opinion is BIZARRE. If nothing else, the experience highlighted the fact that for the last twelve months, we have been in treatment at the premiere fertility clinic in our area.

Y'all. The place is a spa. That's the only way to describe it. It looks from the outside like a boutique hotel with beautifully landscaped grounds. When we walked in the door, we were standing in front of a hostess desk boasting ads for specials on Ave.da make-up and could see a huge glossy display of OPI nail polish in the room down the hall.

All I could think was "WTF?"

Things just got weirder from there. The receptionist offered us coffee from the new coffee shop they had just opened downstairs and seated us in what looked like a living room with a roaring fireplace and a huge display of self-help books and even oracle cards for sale.

My records still hadn't been entered in the system, even though they'd had them for over a week. The doctor wasn't on the premises yet and it was already nine o'clock. When they finally got my info in the system and the doctor came in for the consult, things seemed to start looking up a bit. Until it became clear that he hadn't really looked at my records. The first thing he said after a quick glance over our treatment history was "You've really been through the ringer!" He asked the right questions and gave good answers to the questions we asked, but still. He briefly reviewed our treatment history and jumped straight to the IVF talk. He was enthusiastic about getting me the AMH test and a couple of other basics that haven't been done. He also was quite clear that for someone my age, he would transfer 3-4 embryos in IVF. Y'all, I'm not comfortable with that!

All of the decor was a posh mixture of Mediterranean/Asian/ShabbyChic (even in the ultrasound rooms). It was like going for a facial and getting wanded instead. They left Professor and I alone a few times throughout the appointment, and we both just kept looking at each other with wide eyes. It was really kinda hard to believe it was for real. And TWICE before we left, the nurse mentioned all of the workshops, yoga classes, massage and acupuncture services, etc. that they also offer onsite. I'm sure that for some people, this would be a very warm, relaxing, comforting environment, and I hope those people can find this place and can make all their dreams come true. I, however, am definitely not one of those people.


At the very least, we will get the tests this new guy suggested and since today just happened to be CD1, they were even able to do a blood draw for those. We'll then be comfortable going back to our original RE and placing ourselves and our finances unreservedly in his care. I think I'm ready now for a final IUI in December.

*Bonus update: We have achieved yet another unmedicated 14 day luteal phase! Yippee!


  1. Wow. That is just bizarre. I mean, I know infertility is big business here in the US, but a spa/fertility clinic seems a little out of whack. Regardless, not having read your records prior to the appointment is a big warning sign. At least you now have full confidence in clinic #1!!

  2. Without a doubt, the thing that impressed me the VERY most about Dr. Awesome was that he had THOROUGHLY prepared for our consult. He knew my entire IF history (and pre-IF history) by heart and already had a plan of action in place. It gave me the warm fuzzies from my head to my toes. And as you have eloquently stated, THAT is more valuable than the luxe-est, spa-iest, swankiest RE office out there. Onwards and upwards, I lvoe your plan!! xo

  3. Weird, weird, weird. Especially the nail polish and aveda products right there, wtf?? The disorganization is definitely not good, the fact that the doctor wasn't prepared for the consult just goes to show that they likely won't be organized if you went through treatments with them and he'd be one of those docs that forgot your name every time he saw you.

    Glad you are fully confident in the first clinic, it never hurts to get a second opinion.

    Hooray for a 14 day luteal phase!!

  4. That place sounds so weird. And yeah, both REs we consulted were thoroughly prepped on the specifics of our case when we met with them. No stupid questions, lots of good advice. And no massages or manicurists to be seen!

    I agree, this does not sound like the place.

  5. That sounds weird. Umm, really weird. It sounds like such a business which I guess it is but, huh. Its too bad the doctor opened with "You've really been through the ringer!", what's up with that? I am sure he was trying to be sympathetic but wow. It is good that you got to have some cd1 testing. No matter what happens you have an interesting experiance to talk about.

  6. Eeek, Slackie! That is NOT what I was hoping to hear about your 2nd opinion! But I'm so happy you now know you've been in the right hands this past year. If anything, this experience showed you that. I'm hoping so badly that this last and final IUI is the key to your success! Thinking of you! xo

  7. Hmmm... that does sound weird. Maybe the more "spa-like" approach is aimed at keeping patients more relaxed? Either way, not having looked through your records prior is not ok. But get the tests. It's good to have as much info as you can.

  8. Bizarre indeed. That smacks of "we'd like to take your money in every way possible."

  9. Well, I hope it was at least worth it to be reassured that you were in the right place to start with. I would not be cool with the trying-too-hard spa vibe.

  10. Wow just .... WOW.

    3-4 embryos. Um, that is scary and I don't blame you for being uncomfortable with that either. Yikes.

    Sending you tons of *hugs*

  11. That's great that your faith in your original clinic has been reaffirmed.

    We had a similar contrast between our first and second clinics, although we made the mistake of having two treatments at the spa before we signed up with the proper clinic. The first place was a private hospital, private room with its own bathroom for EC, fluffy omelette freshly made when I woke up, state of the art equipment, lovely friendly nurses - and a consultant who wasn't willing to try anything different after the first attempt failed (or after the second attempt failed, had we decided to stay with him - one of the main reasons for moving) and had to read my notes in front of me to remind himself what had happened when I went for my follow-up appointment after each failed cycle.

    Contrast that with a place which hasn't cleaned the net curtains in the waiting room in years, has ancient scanners and the most basic shared facilities you've ever seen for egg collection, but tailors all treatment to individual patients, is at the forefront of research in the field, and where the consultant on our first appointment had not only read our notes but taken detailed notes himself and already had an action plan to propose to us.

    I'd go with shabby excellence over luxurious mediocrity any time.

  12. Wow a spa! That is a bit crazy. I hope the tests he ran will give you some good info to go back to your old RE with. Good luck!