Working full-time as a staff nurse in A&E at Southmead Hospital, Ashleigh Promnitz first visited Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM) to try and find out why she and her husband Adam were having problems conceiving a baby
Fast forward seven years and the 36-year-old from Dursley is now the proud mother of three lovely children, (two of whom are IVF babies) and is working at the clinic where her babies were conceived! Ashleigh has a very special job – she is on the team that recruits couples who are trying-to-conceive,for an internationally important research study around IVF.
“Adam and I chose to go to BCRM for investigations because we worked in Bristol and had heard good things about the clinic,” said Ashleigh.
“The team there identified the problems stopping us conceiving as blockages in my fallopian tubes, a low ovarian reserve and endometriosis.
“Our fertility treatment started at the end of 2016, with a failed IVF cycle in 2017 followed by a second round that produced three viable embryos.
“Happily one of those resulted in the birth of our first daughter, Edee, in June 2018, and a second produced Isla Marie in January 2020.
“Baby Freddie, who arrived in May 2022, was a surprise natural conception – he’s our ‘buy two, get one free’ baby.”
Ashleigh is currently enjoying being a full-time mum during her maternity leave, but is highly motivated about returning to work in the New Year because she believes the research she’s involved with will be genuinely life-changing for couples who turn to IVF or ICSI for a family in future years.
Ashleigh said: “Having undergone fertility treatment myself, I understand this area of medicine both as a practitioner and from the perspective of the patient.
“I’m genuinely grateful to BCRM that I can work with the BRIST-IVF study team. I found out about it when Adam and I were involved in the initial focus group, and because of our own journey it’s ended up as a real passion for me.
“After going through what we’ve been through, I think BCRM is a special place and mine’s a special job.
“Our own experience feeds my desire to play an active part in the BRIST-IVF study, which is proper pioneering research that hopefully will enable doctors to better understand which types of IVF work best in which patients to increase live birth success.”
The BRIST-IVF Study is led by NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) researchers at the University of Bristol, with all women and their partners who are undergoing IVF or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment at BCRM eligible to take part.
Ashleigh’s role as a research nurse includes briefing recruits, measuring participants’ height, weight and blood pressure, and collecting urine and blood and/or saliva samples during their scheduled treatment appointments at the BCRM.
Researchers then analyse the data and samples collected with the aim of identifying factors that play a part in whether IVF treatment is successful or not to improve outcomes for patients in the future, and the study will also improve the quality of information offered to people undergoing fertility treatment.
Patients about to undergo IVF or ICSI treatment at the BCRM and wishing to know if they are eligible to take part in the BRIST-IVF study can find more details by clicking here, or for further information about the fertility treatments at BCRM, click here.
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