From a Fertility Nurse: What She Wants Patients to Know

Fertility nurses, no matter how many years they’ve been working in reproductive endocrinology (RE), often get asked many questions by patients who have any number of misconceptions and misunderstandings about infertility. Part of the job of every fertility nurse is to ease the fears patients have; Monica Moore, a RN in Connecticut, is a fertility nurse, and has been for 15 years. She offers some information she wants everyone dealing with fertility and treatment to know:

  1. Find and Practice Stress Release Methods

Whether it’s taking a good long walk in the evening, watching a game on TV, heading to the beach, or curling up on the sofa with a good book, there are endless stress relievers out there, and infertility nurses cannot overstate the importance of them for parents undergoing treatment. While some activities like drinking wine or working out strenuously become off-limits once fertility treatment starts, there are plenty of other activities for you to consider. Take some time to think about what types of things you like to do; swimming and yoga are great options. Many people find that keeping a journal is effective in combating stress, and others enjoy taking up an art class with a friend.

  1. The Nurses Love Baby Photos and Follow-Ups

During the first trimester of pregnancy following successful treatment at a fertility center, patient care is transferred to their OB/GYN. “They often say that they are sad to go,” Moore explains. “Guess what? We are sad to see you leave! I think I’ve actually gone through withdrawal when some of my close patients have moved on. Their journey felt like my journey.” She goes on to say that nurses pass around family holiday cards and baby pictures happily, especially when they get a birth announcement from a patient who had a long, difficult journey with fertility issues. ‘Don’t forget about us, especially around the holidays, as your babies are our greatest ‘gifts’,” she says.

  1. Most Fertility Nurses Have No Formal RE Training to Working at a Fertility Center

The nurses are exposed to all of the relevant, current, most-up-to-date technologies, training, and methods out there. While many do not receive “formal” training in fertility nursing ahead of time, they don’t rely on outdated textbooks or years-old information to help their patients. Instead, they have newly published medical journals, conferences, and research to help them guide their patients to a successful pregnancy. Since the field of reproductive endocrinology is new compared to other areas of medicine, nurses are able to learn new techniques and hear about new processes from the people who create them. “Talk about on-the-job training,” exclaims Moore. “You can’t get better than this.”

  1. Yoga is Wonderful for Fertility Patients and Partners

Yoga has many benefits in addition to being a fantastic stress reliever, and Monica Moore always encourages her fertility patients to practice yoga. With many aspects of fertility treatment being painful or uncomfortable (physically and emotionally), yoga offers a great way to counterbalance all that. Moore teaches in her classes that it’s important not to avoid discomfort, because there is much to learn about oneself when uncomfortable – such as when one holds a yoga pose for longer than normal. “Going outside of your comfort zone can foster empathy, resilience, patience, and give you a different perspective,” Moore explains.

  1. Fertility Nurses Never Get Used to Heartbreak

Moore explains that she has seen some “terribly bad situations – ones that I still have difficulty comprehending.” She further says, “Although it’s incredibly fulfilling helping a woman or couples achieve a pregnancy, there are moments of heartache, such as telling a patient that she is not pregnant or that her pregnancy is not progressing. These phone calls or office visits really have an emotional impact on us, and we spend a lot of time discussing it amongst ourselves.”

Treatment at fertility centers like Generation Next Fertility in New York is state-of-the-art, offering many valuable resources to patients. Moore emphasizes that a patient’s fertility nurse is a valuable resource – one that is dedicated to going through the journey of fertility treatment alongside their patients, through the good and the bad. “Please realize that no question is silly or unimportant. Feel free to ask us for what you need, even if we are ultimately unable to fulfill your request. Know that we will try our best and that we can also look for the right person to help you if we are not that person. Most importantly, please know that we are grateful that you allow us to participate in your fertility journey.”

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