Kirsty Lee lives with her fiance in Melbourne, Australia. She met her partner at work, and the two quickly realized they were a good match....
Lauren Haring founded Embrace Fertility to offer support, education, and guidance for women and couples going through infertility. Lauren has long been involved in the fertility world- she’s a certified fertility nurse with 15 years of experience. She’s also gone through various fertility treatments and experienced her own pregnancy loss. Her nuanced perspective on infertility allows her to provide personalized and empathetic care for the individuals she works with.
Lauren’s entrance in to the fertility world was when she donated her eggs. She was in nursing school at the time, and ended up learning a lot about fertility treatments through the process. “I was teaching my instructors what the medications were”, she said. “They had no idea! There was literally zero teaching that I can recall about the fertility world back then.” It was Lauren’s personal experience of donating her eggs which led her to pursue fertility nursing. She still remembers her nurse from her fertility treatment. “I had such a bond with the nurse who took care of me that I immediately knew, ‘I want to do what you’re doing’”, she recalled.
Immediately after nursing school, Lauren accepted a job at a fertility clinic. The only knowledge she had at this point was from her own experience donating eggs. She learned everything she needed to know about fertility nursing while training for the job. She says there’s a big learning curve when it comes to gaining the necessary skills for this field. What she tells new nurses is, “Give yourself a break. It can take six months to a year before you’re not asking questions every day”.
Lauren started her job as a fertility nurse when she was young, yet she had patients who were younger than her. She began wondering if she should be thinking about her own fertility. When she was 26, she became pregnant. This ended in a miscarriage, which was a hard loss for Lauren. However, the experience helps her in supporting women who have gone through similar things. “I do feel that it helped me grow as a nurse because it gave me the empathy to see both sides. I could sit with a patient who was scheduled for a D & C that day and say, “I've been where you are, I know it’s hard, but there’s a light after this”,” she said. She is able to connect with and support her patients on a more personal level, because she knows first hand how hard it is when you suffer this kind of loss.
After working as a regular patient coordinator for a few years, running all different types of patients’ cycles, performing IUIs, and taking care of medical procedures, Lauren became the director of nursing, and then the practice manager. In 2012, when the time that egg freezing was really coming in to the fertility field as a viable treatment, Lauren helped launch a fertility preservation program for cancer patients. “That’s probably what I was most proud of,” she said. “The doctor I closely worked with and I did a lot of community education in the medical field just to raise awareness, so that they could tell their patients if they thought they should seek information about egg freezing.” Lauren’s work was enjoyable, rewarding, and impactful.
Lauren also decided it was right to freeze her own eggs. She said she wanted the ability to “make decisions about my future without my biological clock making those decisions for me.” Between donor cycles and freezing her eggs, Lauren has been through hundreds of injections. When patients are struggling, she’ll sometimes do a “practice” shot on herself in order to help them realize that they can do it too. Lauren is extremely supportive of her patients, and works very hard to help them through whatever it is that they’re going through.
Her work was fulfilling yet all encompassing. She was so busy, her work seemed to take over her personal life, and her family never saw her. She began to reflect on the fertility experience as a whole, and realized there were some gaps in patient care. “I took a step back and realized that there was a little bit missing from the patient experience. I wanted to start my own business to address that gap that I saw with so many of my patients,” she said. “We were so good at the clinical side, focused on getting them through their cycle, and making sure they understood everything. But there was a whole different side that wasn’t being addressed as far as their lifestyle.” She noticed that the clinic didn’t ask patients things like how they were sleeping, or how their relationship was with their partner. Lauren sought out to change that.
Lauren wanted to care for the whole patient- not just monitor her treatment cycle, and review her medications. She wanted to help those going through infertility in a more holistic way. This is what led her to launch Embrace Fertility, an integrative fertility support system. She offers a few programs through her business. The first is a fertility enhancing program, in which she addresses the main aspects of fertility wellness, which is at the core of all health and wellness. She helps patients focus on good nutrition, the right sleep, and generally health lifestyles. She educates them about environmental toxins, and other factors which could be impeding on their fertility outcomes. “It’s not routine for many clinics to focus on these things,” she said. She also offers a group program, for people who want to focus on one aspect of wellness, such as stress management, sleep and environment, or relationships and connections.
Lauren works to provide emotional support and educational information to individuals and couples going through fertility treatment. “What I’m most proud of is that I can be a cycle partner. This is what I eat, breathe and sleep,” she said. Lauren partners with women and couples to provide support and guidance before, during, and after fertility treatments. “A lot of the clinics are at capacity of what their staff is able to do. When they’re giving their patients results, it can be less informative than what some patients need,” Lauren said. Through her Treatment Partner program, she provides education and guidance to women throughout their IVF cycle. “We go over diagnostic testing, cycle and medication protocol, daily monitoring results, and cycle outcome”. She is there for her clients as a trusted ally. Lauren ensures her clients feel informed and empowered by understanding what is happening at each step of their fertility journey.
Lauren has a well rounded perspective on the fertility experience, given that she has gone through treatments and pregnancy loss herself. Her work as a fertility nurse gives her the knowledge she needs to make patients feel comfortable and confident in their journeys. All of Lauren’s services are virtual, which allows her patients to get the support they need in their homes, or wherever they feel most comfortable. She believes that personalized care makes a huge difference. “We can’t quantify how much stress affects pregnancy rates, and overall success. But infertility does cause stress, that’s a fact. Anything that can be done to decrease stress going through this process is a hugely important thing.” Lauren’s services alleviate the nervousness, stress, and uncertainty surrounding infertility. She helps people in navigating the complex waters of fertility treatments. She knows that women have crazy, busy lives, and that fertility treatments are often overwhelming. Lauren guides people through these stressful times, empowering them through education, guidance, and emotional support.
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