Infertility From A Nurse’s Perspective

Infertility. The word itself connotes a certain feeling with a certain loss or emptiness. It just sits there waiting for a void to be filled. I must admit, I knew very little about fertility and infertility, before taking a job as an IVF and fertility nurse with Penn Medicine over four years ago. That level of understanding or lack of understanding changed quickly. Looking back, I’m so glad I took that job and had that experience.

The journey from my perspective:

As an IVF and fertility nurse, I learned how to talk to women and couples about fertility—something our society doesn’t do very well. I learned how to emotionally support someone whose IVF doctor is likely busy with a thousand other patients (let’s face it, some of the clinics feel like a puppy mill).

The process and journey can feel very isolating for women and their partners, and they often don’t know where to find reliable resources. That’s where I came in. I became their sounding board, their guide, their resource and most often, their emotional support system. Here are some of my key takeaways on the infertility journey from a nurse’s perspective.

–Step 1: Do your homework.

Yes, you read that correctly. Google and read up on top REI doctors in your area, make some initial interview appointments, and then decide on who best fits your needs or who you are comfortable with. There is no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to the fertility process. It is critical you find someone you feel comfortable working with.

The same goes for things like insurance. Find out if you have coverage for fertility treatments and medication before you walk through the door. You can contact your HR department or call the number on the back of the card and aske for the insurance company to expain your benefits. Some offices say they will do this, but it is also your responsibility and best to know what your benefits are before the clinic sends you a hefty bill. The last thing you want is to get set-up and find out you have no medical coverage that can run anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 per cycle depending what services or treatments you need.

–Step 2: Your nurse is your friend. Treat them that way (trust me).

I understand that not all people are meant to get along or someone you will click with. So, if for any reason your IVF nurse is not the right fit, it is okay and you should ask to work with a different nurse. The point is for the fertility IVF nurse to act as your coach through your cycle and journey. You need them to guide you through the process and it is much easier or better if you realize they are on your team. Remember how they are human too and see cases just like yours daily. Do not hold back information or questions from your nurse. That is what they are there for.

–Step3: Take time for yourself (and it is ok to feel sad).

It is okay to take breaks. It is okay to feel sad. It is okay to take time to heal. Try and do little things each day for yourself while you’re going through fertility treatments. Take walks, spend time with your friends and family, try acupuncture or yoga. The journey can take over your life if you let it. Fertility can be consuming with test results, calculations, variables, and egg, sperm, embryo counting. Try not to get lost in the infertility diagnosis. Remember to live your life as there are many things to be grateful for.

Those are just a few important items to keep in mind while navigating the fertility world. I learned a great deal for my patients. My patients are the ones who inspired me to help more women on a national level. I am grateful for every single one who shared their journey with me. Not everyone in the fertility clinics walks away with their version of a happy ending, but what you can do is write your own story, share it, be brave, and keep trying.


Suzie Welsh holds a BSN from the University of Virginia and a Master Degree in Nursing for health leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Suzie is an adjunct professor at Villanova University School of Nursing and is a 200-hour certified yoga instructor. Suzie is also the founder of BINTO a personalized subscription box of women’s health products, delivered to your door. BINTO is a women’s lifestyle brand that’s changing the way we look at and take care of, the lifecycle of women’s health. The company mission is to help women get the safe and effective products we need every month to support our unique health journey. BINTO removes the stress and guesswork out of finding products by creating a personalized suite just for you. The subscriptions range from your period and hormonal support to fertility, pregnancy and now menopause. Use code EGGCLUB to get 20% off your first month of