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Guiding You Through Fertility Treatment: The Role of Your Nurse

Fertility treatment can feel like an overwhelming undertaking. Between keeping track of test results, medication dosing, and waiting for results it can sometimes feel like a full-time job if you had to do it alone. At Shady Grove Fertility, each patient has a dedicated Fertility Nurse Coordinator to guide them through treatment from start to finish and keep track of everything along the way, making an otherwise daunting process straightforward and uncomplicated.

Some of SGF's Donor Team Nurses
Some of SGF’s Donor Team Nurses

Shady Grove Fertility’s medical team includes over many experienced that work one-on-one with patients at all points in their journey. “A part of my responsibility to each patient is to hold their hand through the process, act as their sounding board and their teacher. Every day, my goal is to build a rapport and trust with our patients; I find this extremely important in order to properly treat each patient,” explains Debbie Dancer, a Fertility Nurse Coordinator in SGF’s Philadelphia area office. “Our hope is that patients understand at the end of the day we are on their side and want to help them achieve success in a safe manner.”

Beginning Your Fertility Treatment Journey

The first step for patients is their initial consultation – an appointment where patients meet with their physician, nurse, and financial counselor. This first appointment is full of information and can be a lot to take in for patients just starting the process of seeking fertility treatment. “Couples walk into our offices wanting a baby yesterday and feel lost,” says Pam Cash, a Fertility Nurse in Virginia. “The doctor talks to them about what tests they need to complete and often times the patient may seem confused about the process and where to go from here.  That is why right after meeting with their physician a patient will meet with their nurse. We work with each patient to decode the process, help navigate them through their pre-screening and help get them closer to starting treatment and achieving their goal of having a baby.”

A few hardworking Leesburg Nurses
A few hardworking Leesburg Nurses

Beyond providing the cut and dry facts of a patient’s cycle progress, it is important for each nurse to learn about and understand each patient individually. Paige Pahira, Fertility Nurse Coordinator in Rockville, MD knows the importance of getting to know her patients, “I work to foster a relationship with each patient that meets their individual needs. To do this, I need to identify how much anticipatory guidance they need. Some patients like their results to be straightforward and others like to have long conversations. I think what makes each nurse unique is their ability to gauge each patient’s needs and cater their care differently.”

Trust in Our Experience

With over 30,000 babies born as a result of fertility treatment at Shady Grove Fertility, the nursing team has a lot of experience. After helping thousands of patients, seasoned nurse Allison Catalani, from the Frederick, MD office, offers this bit of advice: “Relax, and let us guide you – all too many people think they have to take it all on themselves.  We are a team, and you can trust us to be just as invested in your overall success as you are!”

Many patients are quick to learn that Shady Grove Fertility’s Nursing Team will work tirelessly to help you through your fertility journey and quickly become your biggest supporter and even bigger cheerleaders.

From the Nurses: The Most Common Questions

Patients usually have a lot of questions. Our nursing staff put together the most frequently asked questions from their patients:

Will IVF use all of my eggs?

No. At the beginning of every menses, a “crop” of antral follicles (small resting follicles which contain an egg) are recruited. Typically one follicle matures which leads to the release of the egg within the follicle through ovulation. The remaining follicles are not used and are absorbed into the body.

When a patient undergoes IVF treatment, medications are used to grow and develop a majority of the available antral follicles, as opposed to just the one which would occur naturally. Once the follicles are matured, the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries. At the conclusion of the cycle the body returns to the normal pattern of recruiting and ovulating a single egg in each cycle.

Why does my partner need fertility testing?

Although infertility is thought by many to be a woman’s disease, many are surprised to learn that 40-50% of all infertility is due to a male factor. A complete fertility work-up includes a semen analysis (looking at the male partner’s sperm quality and quantity). An accurate diagnosis and treatment is dependent on a complete work-up considering all of the factors that could be attributing to a patient’s infertility.

When can I start my treatment cycle?

Treatment cycles (IUI, IVF, Donor Egg, and Frozen Embryo Transfers) may begin when “pre-screening testing” recommended by their physician has been completed. This typically includes day three hormone blood work for the female partner and infectious disease blood work for both, a semen analysis, HSG, and genetic disease screening.

Additionally, treatment cycle consent forms need to be signed and completed and patients will need to meet with the financial counselor to answer any insurance or financial program questions.

Patients will often discuss upcoming menstrual cycles with their primary nurse, who can work with them individually to offer a tentative calendar of anticipated treatment cycle dates.

What can I expect in monitoring?

SGF's Frederick Nursing Team
SGF’s Frederick Nursing Team

Cycle monitoring, or morning monitoring, is a series of appointments used to track the progress of a cycle. IVF patients may require between four to six different monitoring appointments during the stimulation phase of the cycle. At these appointments, blood is drawn and analyzed to monitor hormone levels and a pelvic ultrasound is performed to track follicular development and size. The data collected at these appointments helps your physician track the response to stimulation and further medication dosing.

Monitoring patients will receive a follow-up call from their nurse later in the afternoon – where she will provide any physician directed changes to the protocol such as medication dosing, answer any outstanding questions, and provide an overall update on the status and progress of the cycle.

If you are having trouble conceiving and would like to speak with one of our New Patient Liaisons by calling 877-971-7755 or schedule an appointment.

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