I have been in fertility nursing for 17 years and I joined BCRM in 2020, initially as the lead nurse for egg donation, but I’m now also the fertility nurse manager meaning I divide my time between dealing with all the day-to-day management of the clinic and co-ordination of egg donation and recipient treatment cycles.
I love my job. I am responsible for carrying out an array of different tasks within my working day making every day extremely varied. I could start the day carrying out scans on patients undergoing fertility treatment, followed by embryo transfers or endometrial scratches and biopsies, natural killer cell testing and endometrial receptivity analysis tests. My day could finish with me planning theatre lists for egg collections of carrying out virtual planning appointments via Zoom.
Now that egg donation is becoming commonplace, we are actively recruiting donors and aim to become a well-recognised egg bank with a good selection of donors whilst offering the best patient care. The egg donation programme is going from strength to strength and we see it as a really important part of our work. For some women that find they’re having problems conceiving it could be that they have a low ovarian reserve and/or poor egg quality, in which case their best chance of assisted pregnancy may be through egg donation.
Sara in our egg donation team works really hard to match donors to recipients and aims to offer patients two or three donor matches. My work includes synching the menstrual cycles of donors and recipients when a fresh embryo transfer is required, and making sure they have everything they need for each stage of the cycle.
With the arrival of vitrification we can now freeze eggs very successfully, and if we’re using frozen eggs the process can be slightly less complicated. Egg freezing is very important to us and our aim is to build an egg bank for recipients that offers choice and high success rates. We want patients to recognise this is the best place for them to have donor egg treatment and achieve a pregnancy.
As a manager I am also responsible for the nursing staff training and career development, helping new members of staff settle in, and helping nurses achieve all the goals on their competency pathways.
I know that many clinics don’t offer their nurses the same breadth of work as we do, but BCRM has some of the most progressive and forward-thinking attitudes to nursing. We really invest in our nurses and their development and career pathways to help them reach their full potential, and our success rates for IVF are the best in the South West and some of the best in the country. This isn’t a coincidence.
All the feedback I ever heard about BCRM from patients before I arrived here was great. Comments on the nurses, the doctors and the lab teams were universally positive and I thought: “This is a place I’d really like to work.”
Maybe the reason for is that we have a shared vision: success rates are really important but for us it is all about patient care and we offer a gold standard. And an excellent team, who are invested in. It’s not just about the bottom line – we go above and beyond. This keeps our patients coming back, and earns us word-of-mouth referrals, which means the world to us. I can see myself spending the rest of my career at this clinic.
Externally I am on the steering committee for the RCN Fertility Nurse Forum, which involves organising an annual training event for fertility nurses, new RCN projects, and I’m also on the HFEA Licensed Centres Panel – a group of fertility sector professionals who meet twice a year to help the HFEA keep in touch with centres re what is going on the front line. I think it’s important to contribute to the work of organisations like this.
As for outside interests, this past year has really made me focus on what is important, and for me that’s spending time with my husband and our son. Simple pleasures like going for a walk and having an ice cream. During the first lockdown we acquired a gorgeous little Cairnoodle – that’s a cross between a cairn terrier and a poodle. He’s nearly a year old, and he’s a little golden bundle of joy to go home to every evening.
For further information on Egg donation treatment https://www.fertilitybristol.com/egg-donation-treatment-in-bristol/
or if you are interested in becoming an egg donor https://www.fertilitybristol.com/egg-donor/
please follow the links to the dedicated pages on our website