Many, many years ago I graduated from college in the south of England in a city called Plymouth with a degree in Biological Sciences. I knew that I wanted to work in a laboratory, but I also knew that I wanted to be able to interact with the people that I was helping. Anyway, armed with my fresh new degree I went out looking for a job, applying for pretty much anything that I was even vaguely qualified for, and getting nowhere fast – oh the joys of qualifications and no experience.
One day I came across an advertisement for a trainee embryologist position, and I was intrigued. The job promised to have a lot of patient interaction, helping people complete their family, while allowing me to be able to expand upon the skills that I had learnt in school. I love to learn new skills and information, so this seemed like a win/win situation.
So, after applying for a few different embryology positions, I was finally able to secure training and off I went up to Leeds, closer to my home town of Sheffield in the north of England. The training was intense, and even included a trip down to a large hospital facility in London to get all the experience that I needed.
I fell in love with the job, and quickly picked up the skills – it seemed to come naturally to me as the pregnancy rates that I was achieving were good from the start. The office that I worked in initially was very small, and so I had a lot of opportunity to meet the patients, talk to them and feel more connected to the work I was doing.
I have since worked in a few different clinics, some large and some small. I feel that I really am best suited to the smaller clinic where I don’t get lost in the laboratory and forget that I am really here to help couples start and expand their families. That is why I was very happy when I was able to find my way to Overlake Reproductive Health – and I have been here for almost 13 years now.
I feel that there are many factors that allow an embryologist to be good at their job, education, training, experience and a continued interest in the many facets of this rapidly changing field. On top of all that I also think that you need to be able to develop a level of care and concern for what we are dealing with – the potential for life – but maintain a real balance within that.
I distinctly remember the first time that I held a dish of embryos – that they were so precious and that I was totally scared stupid that I would drop them! You can never let go of that feeling, but you have to put it somewhere to the back of your mind or else it is going to drive you insane! We all take so much care when we handle your precious cargo, but deal with it on a day to day basis as a sample – and treat it with the respect it deserves.
So, in conclusion, my real motivation came from a desire to help people and along the way I totally fell in love with this job, and cannot imagine ever doing anything else. Of course there are days when I would rather have a job that did not carry the same level of stress and attention to detail, everybody does. All that it takes to change my mind though is to have a couple come in and bring their baby for us to see – I will never tire of that!