When you first begin the process of seeking fertility treatments, you are likely hyper focused on the task at hand. Focused on what, when, and where things need to be done. You are a parent-to-be on a mission. Some of us (and this was me) are systematic and have charts, temperatures, and excel spreadsheets. Some of us are great ‘rule-followers’ and follow the doctor’s orders, carrying them out exactly as instructed. Some of us enlist the help of acupuncture, yoga, or massages. Anything that each of us can do to make this process feel a little more in our control. Something that we can say to ourselves, “well, I gave it my all and I did everything I could to help this path of having a baby.”
Now comes the retrieval day. You are nervous but hopeful. Your doctor does everything he can to put you at ease, you are wheeled into the room, anesthesia begins, and the next thing you know…. you are asleep. You wake up to the news of how many eggs were retrieved. In an ideal world you have a good group of 8-10 eggs waiting to be fertilized.
You leave the facility feeling pretty good. You have done all your hard work, every last item can be checked, crossed off, and you are in the clear. But, WAIT, how could we not have thought about one of the most important pieces?
Who will be taking care of your precious eggs? Sperm? And eventually your embryos?? You did all that hard work and often don’t realize the real hard work is now beginning!
Introducing the most important babysitter you will ever meet… your Embryologist.
It is so very important that you know the history, the experience, and the methods of your embryology team. The embryology lab that is the team’s home away from home. Can you imagine doing all your hard work to have your precious eggs not cared for correctly?
Maria Thompson is the Embryologist at Shady Grove Fertility in Chesterbrook, PA. She is one of the most caring, sensitive, and brilliant individuals you will ever meet. Maria takes such pride in her work and sees the importance of her role for each and every couple “The most rewarding feeling is to see patients when they come back to see us in the office. To see that I helped create and nurture that little baby is the ultimate reward.”
Many Shady Grove Fertility patients receive updates on their embryos from their nurse. However, for our patients in the Philadelphia area, Maria will call to provide regular Day 1 through Day 5 updates. She will tell you how many fertilized and how they are progressing. She feels it is vital to be honest with the patients if something isn’t developing well. “The most common question I get is ‘Do they look normal’ and I always will give them my most honest answer, providing realistic expectations. For the good or the bad, I want the patient to know as much as I can see on that given day.”
There are many elements that go into the embryology lab. What makes one fertility center’s lab better than another? Some of the most important factors are the lab environment, air quality, humidity, and the technical skill of the embryology team. Shady Grove Fertility Embryologists, like Maria, have done hundreds of retrievals and transfers. They have seen the good and the not so good, but each patient is cared for as if they were their only patient.
So next time you are in the Philadelphia area, come and visit Maria, take a tour, and meet your most important baby-sitter ever!
About the Author
Christina Schmidt is a Practice Liaison for Shady Grove Fertility in Pennsylvania. A mom, sister and friend, who has gone through IVF and open adoption. Christina is a champion for those who are building their families through hope, love, and help.
If you are having trouble conceiving, please schedule an appointment, or speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons at 877-971-7755.