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The Role of the Fertility Nurse in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

The Role of the Fertility Nurse in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)

17:41 23rd August 2021 | IVF

Nursing IVF ART

The fertility nurse is involved in all stages of the treatment cycle.

Imagine having to travel to a distant and foreign land with new languages, food and culture to pick and adapt to, the fertility nurse here is your “tour guide” and special advocate or guardian.

Your fertility nurse would help you settle in quite easily, unjumble all the cluster of IVF terminologies you might have picked up while having a consultation with the fertility specialist or consultant and help you understand these terms and how it implies to/ affects you. 

There are vast roles played by the fertility nurse: 

1. Having an appointment consultation with couples/individuals in partnership with the fertility specialist/doctor. The nurse doesn’t join the consultations as a bystander but serves to ensure each client receives adequate information during their consultation with the fertility specialist. Thus, monitors to see if the client understands what has been discussed spots out any detail that might have been missed out by the specialist during the discussion and also evaluates to see the client’s individualized care needs in order to provide the same as the conversations go on.

2. Carrying out phlebotomy procedure: This involves taking your blood sample for baseline tests: The phlebotomy unit is a sensitive area as nobody enjoys the prick of a needle and so the fertility nurse takes caution to ensure this is done in a comfortable manner, clean environment and careful technique. 

3. Mentally preparing clients for semen analysis.

4. Scientific counselling: helping you understand each step/process of your IVF journey.

5. Ensuring counselling support for couples and individuals: She ensures everyone gets to have a session with the counsellor at least once during their treatment cycle. 

6. Planning the treatment cycle in partnership with the fertility specialist/consultant: The fertility nurse works in collaboration with the fertility specialist ensuring the selected treatment cycle is client-based to give you the best shot at achieving pregnancy.

7. Providing Patient-centered care, support and information in the follow-up of the treatment cycle. This means no client is left in the dark or lost along the way. Every client receives sufficient information at every phase of treatment and understands clearly the processes ahead.

8. Regular telephone calls, messages and emails as means of follow-up on each client. Like they say: “The magical thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back”, this is the same for a fertility nurse. Your fertility nurse is that good friend called “home”.

9. Introducing clients to their prescribed medications: This would entail a detailed explanation of all prescribed drugs: drug action, dosage, side effects, routes of administration, storage methods and a demonstration on how to administer these drugs.

10. Assisting in transvaginal scans: The fertility nurse provides emotional and physical support as some scans may come with some level of discomfort. Your nurse would be there by your side always to ensure you are comfortable, not in pain and won’t fail to hold your hands in the reassurance of pledged support.

11. Assistance in egg retrieval: Just as your “guardian angel” or “fairy godmother”, you would never be seen alone in theatre without a fertility nurse. Your nurse would be there to ensure the process goes smoothly and your dignity is preserved while the process is carried out in your conscious or unconscious state and that your safety is ensured and sustained.  Don’t be surprised to hear your nurse ask for your favourite brand of music or song artist as she just might be planning to play you some soothing albums as part of the diversional therapy we offer during theatre procedures. She monitors and documents your vitals and provides prompt and efficient intervention should anything go wrong, she also stays with you while you recover from the sedative after the procedure and gives you post-op care.

12. Assistance during embryo transfer/IUI procedures: As icing and sweet toppings are to a cake, so is the fertility nurse to the final stages of your cycle. The fertility nurse is not only concerned with the sterility of tools and equipment used during your transfer, she ensures you are emotionally and physically ready for this stage of the treatment and provides support in a comfortable theatre. 

13. Conduct urine pregnancy tests at the end of the cycle and share results with the couple: peeing on a stick and waiting to see how many lines appear on it is one simple, yet frightening task to do 2 weeks after your embryo transfer/IUI procedure and so the fertility nurse is sure to support to help you conduct your pregnancy test when anxiety is at its peak.

14. Provide emotional support for couples with negative outcomes: Sometimes we need someone to simply be there. Not to fix anything or do anything in particular but just to let us feel we are supported and cared about. The fertility nurse provides hands to hold, an ear to listen, a heart that understands and shoulders to lean on.

15. Follow-up care for couples from pregnancy till delivery: It’s not always easy growing a little life inside of you; the morning sickness, hormones, changes to the body, sleeplessness. Yet when it all gets too hard, just remember your fertility nurse will always be there to support you.

So much is invested in a positive outcome (time, finances, and emotions) and we know how difficult the journey is for our clients. On the other hand, being able to share in the news that a client is pregnant is incredibly fulfilling. It is an amazing feeling to know we played a part in creating this much-desired miracle baby and have made such a difference in someone’s life.

Image credit: Google

By Chidinma Ochu, Fertility Nurse.

To find out about how Bridge Clinic can assist you, contact Nigeria’s most trusted fertility centre today.

Call: 01 631 0092 / Whatsapp: +234 (0)810 460 7791.
Visit: 66 Oduduwa Way, Ikeja GRA

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