The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc

Different Ways Infertility Can Impact a Nurse's Career


Of all the things you would expect to have a major impact on the career of a nurse, who could imagine that infertility would be among the leading concerns? Actually, infertility could affect a nurse’s career both on a personal level as well as a professional level. Whether you are currently practicing nursing or are considering going into the field, you may want to look at a growing awareness within the industry as to how being infertile has an impact on you as well as your patients.

The Impact of Infertility on a Personal Level

If there is one thing which can be said with absolute certainty of nurses, it would be that nurses are prone to the same illnesses, diseases and syndromes as any of their patients. This pertains to infertility as well. Quoting the CDC, the US Department of Health and Human Services states that:

About 10 in 100 (6.1 million) women in the United States ages 15–44 have difficulty becoming pregnant or staying pregnant…”

So, for just a moment, consider the fact that one in every ten female nurses may be personally struggling with conceiving or staying pregnant on any given day. This does not include the number of male nurses who may also struggle with infertility. As you can clearly see, this is a hot topic and one which led many nurses to either enter the field or to go on to specialize in infertility.

Preparing for a Career as an Infertility Nurse

Before looking at the various ways in which nurses can pursue a career as an infertility nurse, let’s look at the education and certifications necessary to enter the field. Most job opportunities are open to nurses who hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), however, to specialize in infertility it may very well be necessary to go beyond with advanced training and certification in the field. Some of today’s nurses have entered the profession by what is considered a roundabout route.

Armed with a Bachelor of Science, it was possible to simply take the 62 credit hours within the nursing field of study to gain a BSN, allowing them to change professions easily. Schools like Baylor University offer what are known as BSN accelerated programs in which the majority of work is done online with only clinicals and seminars required on campus. Whether you are just beginning your academic pursuit or changing professions as so many have before you, entering the specialization of infertility serves a real need in the community.

What Exactly Is Infertility?

Let’s pause for just a moment to take a closer look at the most common causes of female infertility. Typically, this would fall into two areas which are said to be:

  1. Problems during ovulation
  2. Blocked fallopian tubes

As a nurse working in the field of infertility, one of the tasks would be to help women chart their cycle of ovulation if this is the primary concern of the doctors. While this ‘may’ lead to successful conception, there may be other issues involved such as blocked fallopian tubes which prevent the successful journey of the egg into a position for fertilization. This is just one area in which infertility can impact the career of a nurse. There are other areas in which infertility nurses serve a very real need as well. The point being made here is that infertility is basically an inability to conceive or carry a baby to term, and nurses are tasked with working closely with patients to help doctors determine where a problem resides.

A Quick Look at Where Fertility Nurses Work

The first thing to understand is that most ‘fertility nurses’ or ‘infertility nurses’ will often be required to hold certifications above and beyond that BSN mentioned above. However, this may not always be the case. Most often it depends on the setting in which they are employed. Fertility nurses most often work in:

  • Clinics specializing in fertility
  • Hospitals
  • OB/GYN practices (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
  • Donation Centers

At this point, you may be wondering exactly what a donation center is. Not only are there donation centers where men donate sperm, but there are egg donation centers as well. These require highly specialized training because nurses will assist doctors in the collection of eggs to be fertilized in vitro. Even so, the point being made is that there are various ways in which to make an impact as an infertility nurse and your field of specialization can prepare you to work in any of these settings.

The Benefits of Specializing in Infertility

Many nurses find that assisting couples to conceive and bear a child is the best benefit of all. Perhaps they, themselves, had issues with infertility and so it is highly rewarding to help other couples birth a child at long last. However, aside from personal gratification, there are a number of professional benefits as well.

While salaries vary from state to state and from institution to institution, a nurse with certifications above and beyond her base nursing degree enjoys higher pay rates and often better benefits packages. It pays to begin with that accelerated BSN degree mentioned above but beyond that, infertility specializations immediately qualify you for a higher pay scale. It goes without saying that the more advanced your training, the more in demand your job will be.

A Broad Summary

Thinking back to the fact that roughly 10% of the female population will struggle with fertility on some level, you can see that this particular specialization is in great demand. Not only will you often play a vital role in helping women bear a child, but you can also help them prepare for other options such as adoption or foster parenting.

The field of infertility takes many paths, but the one thing which can be said as a general rule of thumb is that it takes a special commitment to work in this specialization along with highly advanced training in the field. Are you interested in the field of infertility? If so, know that your skills are sorely needed.

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