Thursday, July 17th, 2014
In a previous post, I mentioned that I took the Harmony Pre-Natal Test and this is how hubby and I found out we were having a boy. I was so traumatized by the whole experience (yes I’m dramatic) that it’s taken me some time to write out this post. I first heard about the Harmony Test from a co-worker who at the time was over 35 years old and pregnant with her second child. She told me the test consisted of a simple blood draw and was highly accurate in assessing risk of fetal trisomies 21,18, and 13. In addition to assessing risk, the test can tell you the gender of your baby as early 10 weeks! I have another co-worker who was telling me how painful the amnio was…so I tucked away this information in the back of my mind for the future. I’m 28, and not considered “high risk” but really wanted some peace of mind without having to go through a painful procedure. I researched the Harmony Test and their competitors like materniT21 and Verifi. Essentially all three of these companies do the same thing. My insurance is through Kaiser so I knew that this would be an out of pocket expense and would need to find someplace in the sf bay area that does not require a referral from my doctor.
After some research, I found Peninsula Diagnostic which is located in Downtown San Mateo (only about 15 minutes from home). I called them to see if I could make an appointment and was told that for the Harmony Test, they only take walk-ins. I asked what the price would be if I wasn’t going through insurance and was told it would only be $189. Score! This was much less than the amount I was expecting so I did a little happy dance. To be able to go to the office during their operating hours, I needed to take time off work so I requested the hours off two weeks in advance. I walked into Peninsula Diagnostic’s office and there was one other patient in the waiting room. I was told that they were very busy so would need to wait. No problem – I’m a pretty patient person so filled out some paperwork while waiting. The nurse at the front desk was very pleasant and seemed apologetic for making me wait. I asked again how much the test would be, and was blown away when she said it would be $495 dollars. I informed her that I was told $189 on the phone. She just said that person was mistaken and I would have to pay the $495. Okay…once again no big deal. It was a price I was willing to pay.
After about forty minutes, they tell me that the doctors/nurses at their office are too busy to do the blood draw. They hand me the little cardboard box test kit and instruct me to take it across the street to Mills Peninsula Hospital. I let the nurse know that I was not too comfortable with this idea but she assured me that they send patients over there all the time and that they would know exactly what to do. I get to Mills Peninsula and hand the techs at the lab window the little kit and ask to have my blood drawn. They had absolutely NO clue what I was talking about. They had NEVER seen it before. I quickly explain to them that I was at Peninsula Diagnostic and that I was sent over to just have my blood drawn. After making a bunch of phone calls and making me wait, they tell me they can’t do it for the following reasons.
Reason 1: I am not a patient of Mills Peninsula.
Reason 2: I do not have acceptable insurance (since I have Kaiser).
Reason 3: The kit has instructions that indicate the samples will need to be overnighted and they don’t have any more Fed Ex pickups scheduled for another four days
After explaining that I had specifically requested time off from work to do this test, they asked why I couldn’t just go back across the street to Peninsula Diagnostic. Well..by this time, Peninsula Diagnostic had JUST closed for the day so that wouldn’t work out. I think they could tell by this point that I was pretty distressed so after a couple more phone calls, they decided that they could indeed do the blood draw but would need to charge me $40 since I’m not a patient there. I was pretty livid at this point, but what could I do?
The tech comes in to do the blood draw and just stares at the kit for a minute before asking me “do you know what I’m supposed to do?” uhmmm noo. So I tell them the instructions are right there on the box and that they should probably just follow the instructions. After drawing the blood, the tech looks at the samples and tells me she thinks she has to “spin the samples”. Nowhere on the instructions does it say spin the samples, so I politely told her to just leave the samples as is. The kit needed to be properly packaged so the tech took it away to figure out how the packaging would work. I waited another 20 minutes just to get my kit back. I quickly drove over to Fed Ex before they closed, and dropped off the kit. From start to finish, the entire process took almost three hours and I was exhausted and annoyed by the time I got home. I was also anxious because I wasn’t sure if the samples were done properly.
After 8 days, I called Peninsula Diagnostic and was told that my results had just come in that morning and that a doctor would need to read the results for me. I was told I would receive a call back shortly. After sweating it out about an hour, I received the phone call. I was told that I was very low risk with a 1 in 10,000 assessment and that I would be having a boy. Overall, even though it was a very long frustrating process just to have my blood drawn once I found out my results I was pretty happy that I did the test. So would I recommend the Harmony Test? Absolutely. Would I recommend Peninsula Diagnostic? Absolutely not.
I quickly snapped some shots of the kit in the Fed Ex parking lot before sending it off.