Aprilee Velez ’12, Dominion Fertility

Day 1

Dr. Gordon’s days usually start rather early, at 7:30am. Many of his patients stop by before they head to work so mornings are quite busy at Dominion Fertility. I saw Dr. Gordon do a lot of patient monitoring with ultrasounds. Most times the ultrasound was used to check on the quality and number of eggs available. They were also used to check that everything looked normal before treatment could be started, and several times I was able to see babies on the monitor. When the baby has reached a certain number of weeks and a heartbeat can be detected, the patient is sent back to her normal OBGYN with hopes for a healthy, successful pregnancy. At lunchtime we went to INOVA Fairfax Hospital, where Dr. Gordon spoke to resident OBGYN applicants about the great facilities available there. In the afternoon Dr. Gordon did more monitoring, along with patient consultations to discuss their future treatment. I was also able to see a hysterosalpingogram – an x-ray exam that uses fluorescent dye to image the uterus and fallopian tubes in order to detect scarring – at a hospital.

Day 2

In the morning I went with Dr. Gordon to INOVA Fairfax, where he gave a talk to residents on reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Then we went to the hospital’s business meeting, where administrators talked about statistics on patient satisfaction and plans for improving the hospital. I sat in on some more patient consults. We went to an OBGYN office in Reston where Dr. Gordon sometimes sees a small number of patients for consults, but does not actually perform any treatment. I was also able to see a natural cycle IVF egg collection. The embryologist showed me the egg once he had found it in the fractions. In the afternoon a very grateful patient of Dr. Gordon’s came in with cookies to celebrate her daughter’s first birthday.

Day 3

Dr. Gordon again did patient monitoring and consults to discuss a plan of action. We spent some time in the new office in Fairfax, which just opened at the end of last year. At the main office I was able to see an IUI and two more egg retrievals. Both patients were doing natural cycle IVF, and unfortunately the egg could not be found for one woman.

One of the most attractive things about working in reproductive endocrinology is that you really get to know your patients. Since women come in often for monitoring you are always aware of what is going on with them. With just three days at Dominion Fertility I started to recognize some of the women and knew when a certain test proved encouraging or discouraging. This Princeternship was so much more than I expected. I learned about life as a resident (mostly as an OBGYN resident), hospital administration, and infertility treatment. I saw elated women that were so happy to be pregnant, and I saw disappointed women whose treatment did not work out. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to spend this time with Dr. Gordon.