Helping couples become parents

My Career: Eilish McCarthy, Fertility Nurse Specialist and Egg Donation Co-ordinator at Watersone Clinic.
Helping couples become parents
Eilish McCarthy, Fertility Nurse Specialist and Egg Donation Co-ordinator at Waterstone Clinic.

Name: Eilis McCarthy.

Lives: Rochestown.

Job title: Fertility Nurse Specialist and Egg Donation Co-ordinator at Waterstone Clinic, Ireland’s largest independent fertility specialist.

Salary bracket: A rewarding role with a salary that allows me to enjoy life.

Education background: I attended St Patrick’s Girls’ Primary and Secondary schools on Gardiner’s Hill, Cork. I am a registered general nurse and registered midwife with a HDip in Midwifery Studies from UCD. I did my general nurse training at the Cork School of Nursing in the South Infirmary-Victoria Hospital and trained as a midwife at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital.

Hobbies: I enjoy walking, reading, travelling, and spending time with family and friends.

Describe your job in five words: Rewarding, challenging, satisfying, interesting, supportive.

Describe yourself in five words: Kind, friendly, caring, motivated, hard-working.

Personality needed for this kind of work? You need to be supportive. You are a patient advocate, and I’m dedicated to the care of my patients. You also need to be a good communicator.

How long are you doing this job? I started working at Waterstone Clinic (previously Cork Fertility Centre) around 14 years ago.

How did you get this job? Having qualified as a general nurse, I worked at the South Infirmary Hospital before moving to Dublin to complete my HDip in Midwifery Studies. I qualified as a registered midwife and worked as a member of the midwifery team in the Delivery Suite at Coombe Hospital.

I then spent some time in Australia working as a midwife and general nurse before returning home to Cork where I worked in the labour ward in the Bons Secours Hospital.

Shortly after this, an opportunity arose to join the nursing team at Waterstone Clinic as a fertility nurse specialist.

In 2006, I established the Egg Donation Programme at the Clinic. I identified a need for patients who need to travel abroad for Egg Donation Treatment, and over time the clinic established links with clinics abroad — UR Vistahermosa in Alicante, Spain; and Shady Grove Fertility in Washington DC, USA.

These reputable clinics offer good success rates for our patients and our links with them have allowed us to offer patients full support while exploring the option of egg donation treatment abroad, along with support during the treatment cycle and follow up care afterwards.

Do you need particular qualifications or experience? I am a registered nurse and midwife and have always had an interest in women’s health.

Describe a day at work: My day starts early, usually commencing with scans on patients who are in treatment.

I then spend some time answering emails and calls.

In my role as egg donation nurse co-ordinator, I liaise with our link clinics to organise treatment cycles, scans and follow-ups.

I meet with the medical team over the morning to review certain cases and arrange treatment plans.

The afternoons are usually spent in consultations with couples to discuss their treatment options and arrange the tests that are needed in advance of treatment.

How many hours do you work a week? 40.

What do you wear to work? Navy scrubs.

Is your industry male or female dominated? Mostly female.

Does this affect you in any particular way? No, we work together as members of a team that strive to provide optimal standards of care for our patients.

Is your job stressful? How? Rate it on a scale of 1-10: There is always a level of stress when working so closely with couples who so want to achieve their dream of becoming parents. However, this is always alleviated when someone calls with the wonderful news of confirming their pregnancy or calling to announce the arrival of their precious baby.

Do you work with others or on your own? I am lucky enough to work within a highly motivated nursing team. As we are one team within the clinic, I also work very closely with the medical team, embryology and andrology team as well as administration and household staff.

When do you plan to retire or give up working? 65.

Best bits: Definitely meeting individuals and couples, working closely with them and being part of their journey in becoming parents.

Another highlight is meeting parents with their new babies.

Worst bits: Unfortunately, treatment does not work in every case.

Advice to those who want your job? It’s a challenging and busy role. However, the rewards are worth it.

Any other comments? My role as Egg Donation Nurse Co-ordinator allows me to meet couples who may have been told that they have very little chance of having a baby. My job gives them the chance to explore the option of egg donation treatment and hopefully to allow their dream of becoming parents a reality.

Eilis will speak at two free patient information seminars on donor egg treatment later this month, organised by Waterstone Clinic and the renowned American clinic, Shady Grove Fertility. They take place at Waterstone Clinic’s national centre of fertility excellence in Cork at Lotamore House, Tivoli on Saturday, May 19 and at Herbert Park Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 on Sunday, May 20. Both seminars will commence at 2pm.

Register your place at www.waterstoneclinic.ie/events.

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