Forgot Password

Sign In

Register

  • Company Information

  • Billing Address

  • Are you primarily interested in advertising *

  • Do you want to recieve the HealthTimes Newsletter?

Fertility Nursing: A roller coaster of emotions

Photo: Health Times
Infertility affects one in four Australian couples.

Described as an inability to fall pregnant following 12 months of trying, or six months for couples older than 35, infertility can result in a minefield of emotions.

Fortunately, these days, there’s a wide range of infertility treatments available, from artificial insemination through to IVF.

It’s big business, and involves numerous medical professionals and key players, all of whom contribute to helping couples achieve their lifelong dream of holding their baby in their arms.

One of the most significant and multifaceted roles involved in the process is that of the Fertility Nurse.

A Fertility Nurse’s role can range from providing support and counselling to couples considering IVF or other fertility treatments, to assisting patients in administering injections throughout the process.
So complex is the role, that it took more than 15 years of active nursing before Fertility Nurse Kate Wilford even became aware that nurses could work directly in the area of reproduction and fertility.

Ms Wilford first developed an interest in nursing at just 14, after completing a week’s work experienced a nursing home and quickly discovering that caring for people in what made her happy.

“I think when I reflect over the last 25 years of nursing, it was about being able to treat people the way I would want myself and family to be treated,” says Ms Wilford.

“Many people are at their most vulnerable and just being able to make them feel safe and reassured was what appealed to me.”

It was in 2010 when Ms Wilford was working in a Day Surgery unit on a case that involved a woman’s health, that the shift Gynaecological Doctor commented that she would be the perfect fit for fertility nursing.

“And that’s when I thought ‘Can a nurse can work in Fertility?’ and commenced seeking employment in the field of Fertility nursing.

“I watched out on Seek for any job opportunities and was very fortunate to find a position as a nurse Coordinator at a Fertility Clinic near to where I lived.”

While Ms Wilford says having experience with women’s health is helpful in the transition to fertility nursing, full training is provided.

“I went to the START course (Start-up training in assisted reproductive technology) which was excellent.”
Ms Wilford says there’s really no such thing as a typical day for a Fertility Nurse as the role is so varied.

“Anything from educating patients about IVF and what to expect during their cycle, medication teaching, basic counselling, assisting with egg collection and embryo transfers, and communicating with patients about happy and sad outcomes, as well as being involved in our extensive donor program.

“Being a senior nurse and donor nurse coordinator, I assist our Nurse Manager with the daily running of the nursing team, see patients, assist doctors, run the donor program and am currently involved in a research project to help improve men’s sperm health.”

While Ms Wilford says she finds the role overall a rewarding experience, her personal highlight is when couples come back to visit her, bringing with them the little babies that they had so longed for.

“Even just calling them to say they are pregnant can often bring tears to my eyes as you share their happiness over the phone.”

Ms Wilford says the main difference between fertility nursing and general nursing is the focus on communication and support.

“I would say that Fertility nursing is more about communication, education and supporting the Fertility specialist with procedures.

“Whereas general nursing involves patient loads, administering medications and injections, more hands on nursing care.

“Great communication skills are a must and most definitely empathy.

“I think you do need to be compassionate and love the job you do, as patients rely on you and form bonds with you, during a very stressful time in their lives.”

While rewarding, Ms Wilford says the role can be emotional at times, as fertility nurses form close relationships with couples, who can remain ongoing patients for years at a time.

“Especially if they have been coming through for many years and then fall pregnant and say, miscarry. 

“I have cried with couples, hugged couples, cheered with couples and just been there to listen.

“So I suppose it’s a roller-coaster of emotions.”

Having been a Fertility Nurse for 8 years and previously a ward nurse and emergency nurse, Ms Wilford says she has found her niche.
“Being involved in the donor program as an IVF nurse and being able to provide hope to couples, who have failed to conceive with their own gametes is just incredible.

“To know there are so many kind and generous people in this world, who offer their eggs, sperm and surplus embryos to help another couple conceive and experience the joy of parenthood is just remarkable.

“I look forward to work each morning, so I can 100% say I love Fertility Nursing.”

Comments

Thanks, you've subscribed!

Share this free subscription offer with your friends

Email to a Friend


  • Remaining Characters: 500

Nicole Madigan

Nicole Madigan is a widely published journalist with more than 15 years experience in the media and communications industries.

Specialising in health, business, property and finance, Nicole writes regularly for numerous high-profile newspapers, magazines and online publications.

Before moving into freelance writing almost a decade ago, Nicole was an on-air reporter with Channel Nine and a newspaper journalist with News Limited.

Nicole is also the Director of content and communications agency Stella Communications (www.stellacomms.com) and a children's author.