Victoria Wigley, clinical embryologist tells us about the service she has created to provide independent Embryology advice and support for patients ahead of their IVF treatment. She wants to empower patients with knowledge and to help them have a better understanding of all the procedures, the terminology used and what to expect during their treatment
Over to Victoria….
I started my career in the field by achieving a distinction in my MSc in Prenatal Genetics and Fetal Medicine at University College London. After completing my MSc degree, I commenced my Embryology training in 2008 at the London Fertility Centre. In 2011, I joined the dynamic team at the Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health (CRGH), where I progressed to a senior level in the laboratory and was awarded State Registration with the Health & Care Professions council (HCPC). Four years later and after having two children of my own, I moved to Newlife Fertility Clinic in Epsom, Surrey. In January 2020, I was promoted to their Laboratory Manager and Lead Embryologist.
During my last few years, having a managerial position and being at a smaller clinic than I was before, I started focussing a greater part of my role in spending more time speaking with my patients during their treatment and most importantly building a rapport, so gaining their trust.
Providing patients with Embryology Consultations prior to their cycles to complement the Doctor’s consultations proved to be invaluable for the guidance and support of the patients. This is however a service that is often not possible in a lot of clinics, especially the larger ones, as the Embryologist’s time is often taken up with the clinical work in the laboratory.
Appreciating the benefit of patient advice and support from an experienced Embryologist led to the idea to set up my own independent Embryology consultancy service
This was a daunting prospect as the concept did not yet exist, however it was something I really started to believe could be beneficial to many patients across the country. After a couple months, the idea and how I could make this work started to evolve and I set to work designing my website and learning the ropes in the world of social media. By the end of March this year, I was ready to launch and had named the company ‘All about Embryology’.
My aim is to use my years of experience and expertise to give patients independent Embryology advice and support through their fertility journey
I want to empower patients with knowledge and help them have a better understanding of all the procedures, the terminology used and what to expect during their treatment. Recently there also seems to be an increasing level of negative press around fertility clinics, particularly focussed on the additional and sometimes costly ‘add-ons’ to treatment cycles, which can leave patients feeling vulnerable and questioning the incentives of the fertility clinic. Whilst most clinics will only ever have their patients’ best interests at heart, I feel that providing an independent service for the patients can help them better understand the add-ons being offered, what the potential benefits and risks are, and what the scientific evidence is. Providing all this information in a calm, impartial environment can allow the patients to themselves make a genuinely informed decision about their treatment.
All my consultations can be performed over the telephone
The initial consultation is intended to follow on from the patient’s first appointments with the Fertility Doctor at their chosen clinic. We can discuss in detail their fertility history, including any previous cycles and the outcomes of these where relevant. I can then fully explain the fertility treatments being offered, all the related terminology that will be used, and what to expect from the point of egg collection onwards. We can also discuss in detail any Embryology treatment add-ons that may have been advised to the patient.
Then I will also be able to offer a follow up consultation service, which can follow on at any point from their initial consultation. This may be an opportunity to ask more questions, or to get some further support and guidance throughout or after their cycle if needed.
Infertility can be incredibly difficult for those affected. I hope that by providing this new and pioneering service, it will help reduce the anxiety for patients undergoing fertility treatments, equip them with all the necessary knowledge and ultimately allow them to feel more in control again.
If you would like to learn more about the service Victoria provides, head over to www.allaboutembryology.co.uk
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