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REACH in Charlotte NC

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REACH in Charlotte NC

Postby saralee » Sun Feb 04, 2007 2:02 am

My first appointment is February 14 at REACH. Curious to know if anyone has experience with this clinic and their shared risk program w/DE? If so, any thoughts?

Thanks!

saralee
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Postby REACH-AEJ » Wed Feb 07, 2007 12:15 am

Hi Saralee,

I live in Charlotte and go to REACH. I have Dr. Whitesides as my doctor (although you see all 6 at some time) and Jenny is my IVF nurse.

I will be on my 3rd try with them starting in February. I can give you some tips on how what to expect if you'd like...but I have no experience with the shared risk plan and DE. I wish we had done shared risk because I did not realize we would be trying so many times! I think I was way too optimistic....!

I don't know your history, but with DE they are usually very optimistic on success (much higher success rates). But, every situation is personal and different so the stats can change.

Let me know if you want more info about the clinic! Good Luck!! :wink:
AEJ
ME- 35 DH - 41
March '07 - IVF/ICSI - no transfer
NOV '06 - IVF/ICSI - BFN
JUNE '06 - IVF/ICSI - No Fertilization
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Postby saralee » Wed Feb 07, 2007 1:40 am

Hi AEJ!

Sent you a PM.

I'm not positive what doctor has been assigned to me. I was originally scheduled to see Dr. Whelan but, the clinic re-scheduled me about a week ago and I cannot recall if they said whther or not it was with the same doctor.

I had so many questions for them. I have never questions every day. When I tried to ask some of the questions Monica (I think that's her name) kept replying that my questions would be answered during the first session. DARN! I am terrible at being the patient type. Just terrible. And yes, I do know that this process requires a lot of patience, and a lot of faith.

I'm a tad bit more upset now because I had some blood work done at my primary doctor and they told me I had to get the chicken pox vaccine before getting pregnant. I have been exposed to chicken pox but I never caught it. And, they weren't giving this vaccine when I was a kid! (I'm 30 now.) Anyway, I replied, "OK. Can I have it today?" Well, they wouldn't give it to me today because I told her we were trying to get pregnant (yeah, for the last 6 years!), I have a very irregular cycle and the doctor insisted that I COULD be pregnant. I'm so NOT pregnant. Then doctor advised that after getting the vaccine I would need to wait 90 days before starting any fertility procedure. I about fell over. I'm not happy. I'd rather not have the vaccine. My brothers and cousins all had chicken pox when I was growing up, there were outbreaks at school, I never had it. And I cannot believe that it takes being 30 before a doctor brings this up as an issue. I'm a little disappointed. Not sure what REACH is going to say about this. :cry:

I appreciate your comments on shared risk because although it seems like a good deal to me, I have had multiple people say that it's extremely profitable for the clinic but, not a good deal for the patient. It's a rough decision for us because we actually have to take out a loan (insurance isn't covering anything) but it seems to me that shared risk will give me peace of mind. If I should get pregnant the first time, I will not feel as though the extra expense of shared risk was a waste ... it will have been an investment. Having said all of that, I am not aware of what the total expenses we're looking at. I was only quoted "a little over $20K" over the phone. I hope "a little over" isn't really closer to $30K. If so, my husband will freak and who knows if we'd move forward. It's been hard enough convincing him to go this far.

Excited about using a donor but, worried about what the clinic's waiting list looks like. I am actually advertising for a known donor, in case the wait is just too long. The response to my ad has been very good, and I remian excited about the possibilities.

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

Sincerely,

saralee
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Location: Charlotte, NC

Postby REACH-AEJ » Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:00 pm

Saralee,

I left you a PM as well with lots of clinic detail as well as my situation.

I think it's great that you are advertising for a donor.
I have researched it a little at the clinic (we thought we may need one after our first try) and they told me it's about 6 months depending on your criteria. Apparently you get to put together a profile of what you are looking for...the more specific, the longer the wait. They do try to match someone very close to your attributes though.

I'm intersted to hear about that process, so let me know.
If you don't mind me asking, if you haven't done IVF before, how do you know you need a donor? If it's too personal, you don't have to answer. :oops:

I'm glad we are communicating and I look forward to talking more.
AEJ
ME- 35 DH - 41
March '07 - IVF/ICSI - no transfer
NOV '06 - IVF/ICSI - BFN
JUNE '06 - IVF/ICSI - No Fertilization
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Postby REACH-AEJ » Wed Feb 07, 2007 9:10 pm

I forgot to address the shared risk thing....we chose not to, but now in retrospect, wish we had. Our insurance covers 2 in a lifetime, but now we are paying. I think it's worth the investment for peace of mind and knowing you have at least 3 tries.
Of course, donor stats are much better than without....so you very well could be successful your first try! Of course, if you want more children, would shared risk cover 3 for a certain amount of time or just this until you have success? That might be a good question.

Does your insurance pay for meds? My insurance company and prescription coverage are with 2 seperate companies through my same work insurance...so, we luckily get meds covered everytime because they are not IVF specific and have no limit. I didn't even realize it until we started doing this.
Our IVF runs about $10-11K - with ICSI which can be about $5K more than usual (this does not include doc visits, ultrasounds, bloodwork) and meds anywhere between $3-5K (usually on lower end for your age and donor).

Another thing to look into is that our insurance covers all ofc visits, ultrasounds, bloodwork, etc. for every time up until the actual ER and ET - IVF official procedures. The standard doc visits paperwork does not say IVF until those procedures, so it's worth submitting and seeing if they pay!

Hope some of this makes sense. :roll: Feel free to let me know if you have any questions!
AEJ
ME- 35 DH - 41
March '07 - IVF/ICSI - no transfer
NOV '06 - IVF/ICSI - BFN
JUNE '06 - IVF/ICSI - No Fertilization
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Postby kandice » Thu Feb 08, 2007 5:52 pm

hi- i'm in winston-salem!

not going to reach- going to wake forest baptist medical center, but thought I would say hi!
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Postby saralee » Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:28 am

Hi kandice, thanks for the welcome! Has your experience been good at wake forest? I hope so!

AEJ, you're great! LOVED the PM.

Your questions about insurance are a bit tricky to answer, mostly because I know so darned little. This is all a bit confusing.

Let me give you some background ... first, we just relocated to NC. I am newly covered under DH's policy since I am no longer working full-time. I contacted our insurer and was told that they would cover diagnosis and treatment but absolutely no ART. The CSR repeated it several times to make sure I understood!

So, sounds like my initial consultation and lab work will be covered. As for meds, this is where it gets better ... DH and I are still pretty clueless about how that works. Meds coverage is seperate, and I don't really "get" the plan at all. This was so much easier when I was employed full-time and the coverage was through my job. I knew what questions to ask ... DH is always reluctant to get the full story. So, I am unclear about meds at this moment but have a note to call the pharm plan on Monday, February 12.

Now, the fun part. I recently left my full-time position back in Jersey. Jersey is a state with mandatory fertility coverage laws. Just yesterday I received a package in the mail re: COBRA. Coverage for me only would be $337/month. When I saw that, it occurred to me that it would be more cost effective to obtain COBRA and pay the premium than to take out a loan and finance IVF. HOWEVER, I have to call the insurance company to see if this coverage would apply in a new state. I don't know how COBRA works (if someone else knows please feel free to jump in!) but, I am assuming the coverage is identical to what I had as a full-time employee.

Another "issue" that might hinder us is 7 or 8 months back I attempted to get the former insurance company to cover IVF and they denied the request ... I can't recall WHY for the life of me! It may have been because of my age (somewhere in the back of mind I might recall them saying I needed to be at least 35) but I cannot be sure. It stumps me that I cannot recall the details of something so important to me. I know I was really bummed out when they gave us the decision but I don't recall the details. I remember we just sort of resigned ourselves to moving on because at that point, I would not dare consider financing this. So, I will also give a call to the former insurance company on Monday, to see if it makes sense to go for the COBRA.

AEJ, as for the donor issue, we really and truly are wide open on what physical characteristics we would accept. I've adopted previously and the issue of "who this child will look like" means nothing to me. I have met a potential donor whom I am very fond of. But, there are so many questions that remain, specifically about logistics. And again, the issue of finances is an obstacle that we must overcome. So, as much as I'd like to work with this particular young lady, if it is simpler (in terms of paying for the process, getting the necessary labs and procedure done, etc.) to work with a donor through REACH and someone is available relatively soon, then that is likely the route we will go. I will certainly keep you informed on the process.

I am glad to hear that the waiting list averages six months (not as bad as Iw as thinking) because really, we are wide open on physical characterisitics.

And oh yes, I have not done IVF previously but we decided on a donor because of a genetic disorder on my side. Hey, nothing is too personal once you enter this world. :D

Now, have I sufficiently confused with all these darned details?

Hugs,

saralee
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Postby REACH-AEJ » Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:48 pm

Hi Kandice - hope all is going well in Winston-Salem!! Join us anytime! :D

Sara - left you anther PM, had some trouble so hope it went! 8)

How awesome for the state of New Jersey - too bad you are not still there! I hope the coverage is for NC as well. The Cobra cost is a much better deal! I'll be anxious to hear....
The insurance game is very tricky. Our insurance changed names this year so we are still submitting everything in hopes they'll accept it as if it were a new policy. We can only hope! :wink:

That's great that you have met a potential donor. That would speed things up quickly! I am open to adoption as well, and we may do that regardless one day. I have been looking into it so maybe you can give me some tips about the process. I don't know anything! I have friends that have done it using a private adoption lawyer - they say it is quicker than through normal channels. What did you guys do?
AEJ
ME- 35 DH - 41
March '07 - IVF/ICSI - no transfer
NOV '06 - IVF/ICSI - BFN
JUNE '06 - IVF/ICSI - No Fertilization
REACH-AEJ
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Postby saralee » Mon Feb 12, 2007 4:00 pm

Your PM came through loud and clear. :D

There are a handful of states that have mandatory fertility coverage laws including Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland
Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia.

But, alas, it wasn't enough to keep us in Jersey. We are much better off here and absolutely love North Carolina.

I'm not going for the COBRA coverage. The carrier requires me to be 35 or older. :( That's what I thought but I'm glad I looked into it for confirmation.

Hmmm, adoption is its own roller coaster ride in itself. Our situation was probably the extreme but unfortunately, it wasn't that unusual. But ultimately we adopted an older child with special needs from foster care. One reason shared risk appealed to me is that if we don't succeed, and we're not too burned out by the process, perhaps we can take the refunded monies and pay for an international adoption.

Only two more days until my appointment at REACH. YEAH!!!!

Hugs,

saralee
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Location: Charlotte, NC

Postby sokru8 » Tue Feb 13, 2007 10:20 pm

Hey Ladies!
AEJ told me about this POST!
I am also going to REACH in Charlotte and will be starting another cycle in Feb.
My husband and I seriously considered the share risk program because like you Sara we have to pay out of pocket for everything!!!! But We just couldnt manage a loan for $20,000 and we could for $10,000.

Overall I would say that REACH was a good clinic. Although they made a major mistake during our egg collection. I also have Dr Whitesides and Jenny as my IVF nurse If you have any questions please dont hesitate to ask any questions!
What are your needs for an egg donor? Age etc?

Sonya
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Postby REACH-AEJ » Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:16 am

Hi Sonya :D Glad you could join us!!!

Happy Valentine's Day to you girls!!! :wink:
AEJ
ME- 35 DH - 41
March '07 - IVF/ICSI - no transfer
NOV '06 - IVF/ICSI - BFN
JUNE '06 - IVF/ICSI - No Fertilization
REACH-AEJ
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Joined: Wed Nov 29, 2006 12:16 am
Location: CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Postby saralee » Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:46 am

Happy Valentine's Day Ladies!

Hi Sonya,

I'm feeling a bit bummed/negative right now. I'm trying not to let all of my doubts creep in but it seems they are here to stay. I don't know why I'm feeling so unsettled.

DH is having a hard time with all of this, and the financial aspect is very troubling. I'd love to do shared risk but ... who knows? Again, I am very nervous/upset about the money.

I attempted to find out to what extent our prescription plan would cover meds today but, they referred me to the specialty pharmacy line and said my doctor would have to contact them directly, set up and account and tell them exactly which meds before they could describe coverage, if any.

I've got a big giant lump in my stomach. Trying not to cry about any of this. DH and I have the children we adopted, his two children from his first marriage, I feel terribly guilty right now for even wanting more.

Goodness knows I probably won't get a bit of sleep this evening.

Hugs,

saralee
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Postby sokru8 » Wed Feb 14, 2007 11:30 am

Hi Ashley!! Glad to be here! So you never did say when you will be starting again? Are you still doing FET in June?

Saralee: I know exactly how you feel about the money and the stress. My dh wants a baby just as much as I do but I am a lot more open to spending money for this.
The clinic will give you some of the medication for free especially if you have to pay out of pocket for everything! They gave me the shots for my first week of Gonal F. After that the meds cost about $1500-$2000. But each patient is different
We are also considering adoption. But really want to try this route first.

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!
XOXO
Sonya
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Postby saralee » Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:59 pm

My appointment went well I suppose. It was mostly informational, although it did include a vaginal ultrasound.

We have Dr. Whelan, and nurse coordinator Selina. I found both of them extremely personable, as well as knowledgable.

Don't know if I mentioned this before but, I previously had two IUIs with injectibles, a couple of years back at DIAMOND (NJ). The difference between these two facilities is like night and day. If I had started at REACH, I might be done with this journey all ready. DIAMOND was not a good experience, to say the least.

I gave DIAMOND ample opportunity to forward my records to REACH. And even confirmed that they had been sent. Unfortunately, they were not there. I would have preferred for Dr. Whelan to have that information before him.

The doctor noted a lot of immature follicles that is indicative of ovulatory dysfunction. However, he wants me to wait until March 1 to see if I begin my menstrual cycle on my own. Then, the fun (lab work) begins. If it doesn't come on its own by March 1 then of course, they can give me a script to bring it on.

We discussed egg donation. At my age, I could possibly conceive on my own but, there is a medical condition I would like to avoid passing on to any children.

REACH has an anonymous ed program. But, you can be subject to long waiting lists because they match donor and recipient by blood type, eye color, hair color, height, weight, and facial structure. I am ethnic minority and not the least bit interested in waiting that long. REACHalso works with two ed outside agencies but the fees are way above anything we could ever, afford.

What did surprise me is that even private egg donors are subject to the extensive screening process, which is regulated by the federal government. Our prospective known donor is willing and able to go through the process, we were just unaware of the process from a time aspect. We've waited all these years, I have no clue why I should suddenly feel like we should hurry along.

Dr. Whelan didn't discourage us from using a private donor but, he did mention that the anonymous donors are ready to go from the moment of selection.

As for the chicken pox vaccine, he said they'd retest me because sometimes immunity levels fluxuate and my immunities may have just been down on that particular day. So, we're still at I may or may not need the vaccine. But, it would be a 30 day wait before treatment could begin not the 90 our GP told us.

DH needs to schedule a semen analysis. He seemed thrilled :roll: when he heard this.

Now, the hard part ... money. Dr. Whelan, of course, only spoke to us about money in general terms. I know we're looking at more money with an egg donor but, it would be more comforting to have hard figures. While DH almost choked when he heard figures (I already had an idea of course, because of all of my reading online), he almost choked. But he didn't say no. He said we needed to talk more. That surprised, and comforted me.

I told DH that if he said no, I wouldn't be angry. I'd be hurt, but only upset by our financial inability to proceed, not hurt by a common sense decision.

So, this is where we stand.

Sincerely,

saralee
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Postby sokru8 » Thu Feb 15, 2007 10:39 pm

I have seen Dr Whelan before and I liked him a lot. My dh had sticker shock also! If you want a true estimate contact the finacial department. They are on the 2nd Floor.

You moved to CLT from NJ? I moved here from Long Island! I do not miss the snow and cold!!
I understand and respect your concern about passing on a genetic disease! My mother is a human molecular genetisist. If you have any questions in that area let me know and I can pass them on.

Take Care Sonya
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