Part One What is a Fertility Nurse?
Fertility Nurses, also known as Reproductive Nurses or IVF Nurses, are nurses who care for those who seek counseling or treatment options related to reproductive health. They commonly work with women struggling with infertility, couples having difficulty with conception, or women going through menopause.
Where Do Fertility Nurses Work?
Reproductive nurses work with a team of specialized healthcare professionals in fertility clinics, obstetric/gynecology offices, or egg donor centers.
What Skills Do Fertility Nurses Need?
Fertility issues are very emotional and personal issues for many women and their families. When working with patients, a great fertility nurse must possess high empathy, kindness, and non-judgment.
These nurses must have an immense willingness to learn as well, because new research-based technology is constantly bettering patient outcomes.
Part Two What Does a Fertility Nurse Do?
A fertility nurse works with women experiencing fertility issues. In most cases, they work alongside at least one physician in a hospital, medical clinic, or fertility center.
They educate patients about available treatment options, including the pros and cons of each therapy and offer non-judgmental emotional support and counseling to patients and their loved ones who deal with difficulties conceiving. They frequently teach patients how to administer In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatments.
Fertility nurses are often privy to the most up-to-date medical advances and technologies in the field of women’s health. They may also contribute to advances related to stem cell research or cloning. Fertility nurses also facilitate the egg donation process, providing support and guidance to both couples and the matched donors.
Day in the Life of a Fertility Nurse
A typical day as a fertility nurse includes a lot of patient interaction – conducting interviews and follow-up appointments, teaching medication administration, and counseling families on treatment options.
Fertility Nurse Duties
Additional tasks that fertility nurses perform regularly include:
- Assisting with scans
- Collecting and sending blood for testing
- Performing patient assessments
- Assisting with physical examinations
- Assisting with embryo transfers
- Assisting with ultrasounds
- Teaching menopausal women about symptoms and treatment options
- Contacting patients to inform them of test results
Part Three How to Become a Fertility Nurse
To become a fertility nurse, you’ll need to complete the following steps:
Step 1: Apply to and Attend Nursing School
You will need to earn a two-year associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a four-year bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university.
ADN nurses have an option to complete a BSN program through an RN to BSN program. However, they can become licensed and work as registered nurses during that period. ADN nurses also have an option to complete an RN to MSN program, which will also earn them a BSN in the process.
Step 2: Pass the NCLEX-RN
Upon graduation, students must pass the NCLEX examination to become licensed to practice.
Step 3: Gain Experience in the Field
Most IVF nurses gain experience by taking on a bedside role in the hospital setting, although this is not always required.
Many nurses who know they want to work in infertility may want to consider starting their careers on a labor & delivery or postpartum unit. This way, they can get experience working with pregnancy, delivery, post-partum, and newborn infant care.
Step 4: Apply to Work as a Fertility Nurse
You may have to do some research in your area to see what types of healthcare businesses are hiring fertility nurses. Consider looking at the fertility departments are your local medical centers or other fertility and IVF clinics in your area.
Step 5: Pass a National Certification Examination
There is no certification specifically for fertility nurses. However, you should still consider becoming certified in inpatient obstetric nursing (RNC-OB), maternal newborn nursing (RNC-MNN), or neonatal intensive care nursing (RNC-NIC)- depending on your in-patient nursing experience.
Part Four Fertility Nurse Salary
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses earn a median annual income of $77,600 annually or $37.31/hr.
While the BLS does not provide income based on the nursing specialty, Zip Recruiter reports that most fertility nurses' salaries range between $65,000 to $87,500, with top earners making $103,000 or more annually.
Highest Paying Cities for Fertility Nurses
ZipRecruiter also reports that the highest paying cities for fertility nurses are:
|City||Annual Salary||Hourly Wage|
|Santa Rosa, CA||$94,271||$45.32|
|New York City, NY||$88,659||$42.62|
|San Mateo, CA||$88,061||$42.34|
Fertility Nurse Salary by Years of Experience
Your years of experience will also determine how much money you earn. According to Payscale:
- Less than 1 year of experience earn an average hourly wage of $26.53/hr.
- 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $34.62/hr.
- 5-9 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of $34.97/hr.
How to Make More Money as a Fertility Nurse
Ways to increase your salary as a fertility nurse include:
- Work mid-shifts, night shifts, or weekends where you can make a higher hourly wage
- Become certified. Many employers offer employees a raise if they become certified.
- Work per diem at a facility that pays a higher hourly wage for your flexibility of work hours
- Advance your education with a master of nursing (MSN) or higher-level degree
- Work in a city that pays a higher cost of living. Keep in mind that you will earn a higher hourly wage, but you will also likely pay more for housing and expenses as well.
Part Five What Are the Career Growth Opportunities for a Fertility Nurse?
Fertility nurses can take their careers to the next level by becoming fertility nurse practitioners.
To become a fertility nurse practitioner, you must complete a master's or doctorate program with a focus on women’s health. Graduate courses in this discipline will cover prenatal and postnatal assessments, women’s reproductive systems, and women’s health care.
If your interests lie more in line with research, these opportunities are also available with fertility nursing. You can become involved with research trials on stem cell use, cloning, and IVF.
Part Six What You Need to Know Before Becoming a Fertility Nurse
Here are the things you need to consider before deciding whether or not you want to pursue a career as a fertility nurse.
1. Can You Handle Stress and Sensitive Situations?
A primary consideration if you’re considering fertility nursing is your capacity to handle stressful situations sensitively and capably. You may want to consider the emotional weight of counseling patients who are dealing with serious life issues.
2. Do Your Morals Align With the Role?
You should also consider if your moral views and beliefs for stem cell researching and cloning align with the job.
3. Are You Willing to Always Be Learning and Adapting?
Gauge your ability and willingness to adapt in a constantly-changing field like reproductive medicine.
Part Seven Certifications for Fertility Nurses
Unfortunately, there are no certifications specifically for fertility nurses. However, that does not mean that you can’t become certified in a closely- associated specialty!
The chances are that if you are working as a fertility nurse, you have had a minimum of 1-2 years of nursing experience or more. You can become certified in a specialty where you have earned several years of experience.
Many fertility nurses have prior experience working on mother/baby units. Much of that experience is transferable to working as a fertility nurse. Depending on your work experience, you may want to consider becoming certified in:
- Inpatient Obstetric Nursing (RNC-OB)
- Maternal Newborn Nursing (RNC-MNN), or
- Neonatal intensive care nursing (RNC-NIC)
Certification shows your employers and patients that you take your nursing career very seriously and are an expert in your field.
Part Eight Top Programs for Fertility Nurses
You don’t need to go to a program that specializes in fertility nursing because none exists. You must attend an accredited ADN or BSN program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN).
If you know that fertility nursing is any area you wish to practice in, you may want to consider contacting a reproductive facility to inquire about volunteer opportunities during your nursing program. Gaining experience in the field you wish to enter during your nursing program will significantly increase your chances of getting hired after graduation.
Also, keep in mind that you will have many more upward mobility and employment opportunities if you achieve a minimum of a BSN instead of an ADN. You can still be a fertility nurse with an ADN; however, some hiring managers prefer hiring nurses with a BSN. As a result, some ADN-trained nurses may miss out on great nursing opportunities.
Part Nine A Real Fertility Nurse's Journey
For further insight, Heather May, BSN, RN shares her personal journey to becoming a fertility nurse:
How Did You Get Into the Field of Fertility Nursing?
My first degree is in biology, so when I moved to New York City I applied for many laboratory positions at hospitals, research institutes, and clinics.
During my interview at New Hope Fertility Clinic, the hiring manager asked if I was interested in a more interactive role with patients. Open to all experiences, I accepted a role as an Egg Donor Coordinator.
Occasionally, I would volunteer in the lab just to see which field was a better fit for me. I soon realized that I truly enjoyed interacting with patients way more than test tubes and Petri dishes. This inspired me to return to school for a second bachelor’s degree in nursing.
Can You Explain Your typical Day as a Nurse in a Fertility Clinic?
I’ve worked at a few different fertility clinics and it’s pretty much the same. Early hours are when patients are coming in for monitoring, which consists of hormone blood work and/or transvaginal ultrasounds. Most clinics have medical assistants draw labs but this could also fall under a nurse’s set of responsibilities.
I’ve also been in the ultrasound room documenting the follicle (egg) count, lining type and thickness if an ultrasound tech was unavailable. In the early afternoon is when most physicians would like to perform procedures such as IUIs (Intrauterine Insemination), egg retrievals, embryo transfers, hysterectomies, etc.
Again, at most clinics, this falls under the MA role but I’ve worked at one particular clinic in which it was solely a nurse’s responsibility to assist with all procedures.
Later in the day, the results from the blood work are posted to the patient charts. The fertility nurses then will contact each patient and discuss their medication regimen for their prescribed treatment plan. The end of the day is usually reserved for new patient consultations and medication teaching.
What Do You Love Most About Your Job as a Fertility Nurse?
The success story! Battling infertility is an emotional rollercoaster for most patients and being able to finally tell a patient, ‘CONGRATS, you’re pregnant’ is so fulfilling. I automatically see a weight lifted off their shoulders.
What Advice Would You Give to Other Nurses Who Aspire to Join the Field?
Apply, apply, apply! Some fertility clinics want to hire a nurse with experience but there are clinics that are willing to train the right person. A strong candidate for this industry must be able to handle high stress/emotions, be personable, multitask, and have a great deal of patience.
Part Ten Fertility Nurse Career Outlook
The BLS reports that the field of registered nursing is projected to grow 9% between 2020 and 2030. There will be a need for an additional 276,800 nurses during that time than there are today.
The United States has a growing population and many women around the nation continue to face struggles with reproductive health. Coupled with cutting-edge stem cell research findings expanding every year, this field will continue to help women’s healthcare improve.
Part Eleven Fertility Nurse FAQs
How long does it take to become a fertility nurse?
- To become a fertility nurse, you will need to earn a two-year associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a four-year bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university.
What is it like to be a fertility nurse?
- Working as a fertility nurse can be both stressful and rewarding. When working with patients, a great fertility nurse must possess high empathy, kindness, and non-judgment.
Can a midwife become a fertility nurse?
- Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) are advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) who obtain an MSN or DNP. They can also practice as advanced practice fertility nurses. It is essential to review your state’s nursing board to understand your state's APRN scope of practice.
What is a reproductive nurse?
- Reproductive nurses, also called fertility or IVF nurses, care for women, couples, and families who need counseling or treatment options related to reproductive health. Fertility nurses commonly work with women struggling with infertility, couples having difficulty with conception, or women going through menopause.
What does a reproductive health nurse do?
- Tasks that fertility nurses perform regularly include assisting with scans, collecting blood and other labs for testing, performing patient assessments, assisting with physical examinations and embryo transfers, and providing patient education.