Fertility problems may seem inconsequential to anyone who hasn’t experienced them. But for the 1-in-8 couples in the United States struggling to get pregnant, the physical, emotional, and financial strains that accompany infertility can be extremely challenging.
For this reason, they must have an empowering team of professionals to guide them. Some of the most important members of a fertility treatment team are the nurses who help intended parents navigate the process.
We’re proud to have Becca Murillo, a RN experienced in the infertility field, here to answer questions about infertility, donor eggs, and the role that nurses play.
I have been a registered nurse for seventeen years, twelve of which have been in the fertility field. I worked closely with Donor Egg Bank USA when I was at the IVF clinic, and the majority of my patients who needed an egg donor chose Donor Egg Bank USA for their services. I came to a point in my career where I was ready to transition outside the clinic, and Donor Egg Bank USA was such a perfect fit for me! They stand for quality, customer service, and doing what’s right for the patient — which aligns with my personal beliefs on fertility care.
Having been in a fertility clinic for eleven years, I can relate to the daily clinic operations, the dedication of the physicians and staff, the day-to-day duties of the nurses, and the needs of the patients. This helps me relate to our partnering clinics and provide them with the support I know will be most beneficial to them.
Nurses play a vital role in a frozen donor egg cycle, from start to finish! They start with ensuring all testing and screenings are complete, per doctor orders. From there, they educate their patients on the types of medications they will be receiving and how to administer them.
Nurses also create cycle calendars for each patient and review the protocols with them. Throughout office visits, lab draws, donor selection, ultrasounds, transfer day, and graduation day, nurses are there to be patient advocates and provide support!
Technology has come a long way in the past twenty years. With the FDA’s removal of the experimental label in 2012, vitrified donor eggs became an available option for fertility treatment. This advancement provides intended parents with a broader and more diverse donor pool, along with quicker treatment cycles, as the eggs have already been retrieved. Intended parents experience less anxiety and worry about poor stimulation of the donor. Plus, the cost of vitrified eggs is less expensive compared to the cost of a fresh donor cycle.
I think the most challenging part for intended parents is making the decision to move ahead with egg donation. Many of them need to find closure and acceptance of the fact that using an egg donor will provide them the highest chance of a successful pregnancy. Once they come to terms with this, they can focus entirely on the next steps in their journey.
The best thing to do is be available. Let them take the lead on what they need from you. Maybe it’s a listening ear or a car ride to the office for an appointment. Check in when you can, but don’t overwhelm them with questions. Instead, let them offer up the information. Be a source of positivity for them, even on hard days.
I recommend jotting down questions and bringing the list with you to your appointments. You will be more confident about moving forward in the process if you feel like you have all of your questions answered and you understand the “why.”
I’ve had many patients worry, “Will I love my baby even if I don’t use my eggs?” The answer is YES! You will love your baby with all of your being, and that precious little one will love you back just as much!
For many, this is the hardest step to take. I have found over the years that meeting with a counselor to discuss the process, the fears, and the questions provides individuals and couples with the tools needed to take the next step in their journey.
Will I love my baby? Will people know I used an egg donor? Will I find a donor I like? Can I afford it? Whatever emotions you feel are valid and OK. Talk to your partner, talk to your physician, and reach out to a counselor to help navigate these questions and fears.
Keep the faith and trust the process. You absolutely deserve to be a parent!
National Infertility Awareness Week just happened in April. This annual week of awareness provides a chance for our fertility community to come together and raise awareness about this complex topic. Since infertility can happen to anyone, regardless of race, religion, sexuality, or economic status, National Infertility Awareness Week allows us to break down the barriers to discussing infertility and to destroy any stigma surrounding it.
Whether or not you choose to use donor eggs, take this opportunity to admire your resilience. And have confidence that your chance to become a parent could be right around the corner.
https://www.verywellfamily.com/national-infertility-awareness-week-niaw-1959978 (for inspiration on Q&A)
Kristen Bergeron’s personal experience with infertility (for inspiration on Q&A)