How to Become a Fertility/ IVF Nurse

10 Min Read Published October 2, 2023
Fertility Nurse Career Guide: How to Become an IVF Nurse

What is a Fertility/ IVF Nurse?

Fertility nurses, also known as reproductive nurses or IVF Nurses, care for patients seeking 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.

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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. A great IVF nurse must possess high empathy, kindness, and non-judgment when working with patients. 

These nurses must also be immensely willing to learn because new research-based technology is constantly bettering patient outcomes. 

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What Does a Fertility Nurse Do? 

An IVF or fertility nurse works with women experiencing fertility issues.  They usually 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.

IVF 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. IVF nurses also facilitate egg donation, providing support and guidance to couples and matched donors.  

Day in the Life of a Fertility/IVF Nurse

A typical day as a fertility nurse includes many patient interactions – conducting interviews and follow-up appointments, teaching medication administration, and counseling families on treatment options.

Fertility/IVF Nurse Duties

Additional tasks that IVF 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

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How to Become an IVF Nurse

To become an IVF 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 of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree from an accredited institution.

ADN nurses have the option to complete a BSN program through an RN to BSN program. However, they can become licensed and work as registered nurses (RNs) during that period. ADN nurses also have the 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 as labor & delivery or postpartum nurses. This way, they can get experience working with pregnancy, delivery, post-partum, and newborn infant care.  

Step 4: Apply to Work as a Fertility/IVF Nurse

You may have to research jobs in your area to see what types of healthcare businesses are hiring IVF 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 IVF 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.

Fertility Nurse Salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), registered nurses earn a median annual income of $81,220 or $39.05 per hour (May 2022). 

While the BLS does not provide income based on the nursing specialty, Zip Recruiter reports that most fertility nurses' salaries range between $70,000 to $87,500, with top earners making $109,000 or more annually

Highest Paying Cities for Fertility Nurses

ZipRecruiter also reports that the highest-paying cities for IVF nurses are:

City Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Sunnyvale, CA $99,066 $47.63
Livermore, CA $96,520  $46.40
Santa Rosa, CA $95,950 $46.13
Cambridge, MA $93,222 $44.82
Lake Marcel-Stillwater, WA $91,721 $44.10
Vacaville, CA     $91,240     $43.87
New York City, NY     $90,924     $43.71
Lynn, MA $90,634     $43.57
Fairfield, CA     $89,929     $43.24
Long Beach, CA     $89,827     $43.19

Fertility/IVF Nurse Salary by Years of Experience

Your years of experience will also determine how much money you earn. According to Payscale:

  • Less than one year of experience earns an average hourly wage of  $26.53/hr.
  • 1-4 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of  $31.44/hr. 
  • 5-9 years of experience earn an average hourly wage of   $40.50/hr.

How to Make More Money as a Fertility Nurse

Some ways you can increase your IVF nurse salary include the following:

  • Work mid-shifts, night shifts, or weekends where you can make a higher hourly wage
  • Earn a certification: Employers often offer higher salaries to applicants who bring more skills to the table
  • 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 an area with a high cost of living (Remember that your living expenses may also increase using this method)

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What Are the Career Growth Opportunities for a Fertility Nurse?

IVF 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. 

You can also find many open positions in IVF and fertility nursing research if that aligns more closely with your interests or career goals. Such opportunities include stem cell use, cloning, and IVF research trials.

What You Need to Know Before Becoming a Fertility Nurse

Before deciding whether or not you want to pursue a career as an IVF nurse, here are the things you need to consider.

1. Can You Handle Stress and Sensitive Situations?

One key consideration you must make if you're thinking about becoming an IVF/fertility nurse is your ability to handle stressful situations. You may want to consider the emotional weight of counseling patients dealing with serious life issues.

2. Do Your Morals Align With the Role?

The process of in vitro fertilization and other reproductive medicine practices like stem cell research or cloning may cause moral dilemmas in some people. Before entering this career field, take time to fully understand these processes, how they're practiced, and whether they align with your moral views and beliefs. 

3. Are You Willing to Always Be Learning and Adapting?

Reproductive medicine is a constantly changing field. Before you become an IVF nurse, you should gauge your ability and willingness to adapt to work environment changes swiftly.

Fertility Nurse Certifications 

Unfortunately, there are no certifications specifically for fertility and IVF nurses. However, that does not mean you can’t become certified in a closely- associated specialty!

If you are working as a fertility/IVF nurse, chances are 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 an IVF nurse. Depending on your work experience, you may want to consider becoming certified in the following:

Certification shows your employers and patients that you take your nursing career very seriously and are an expert in your field.

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Top Programs for Fertility Nurses 

There are no specialized fertility nursing programs. Instead, you must attend an accredited nursing school, earn an ADN or BSN, and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become an RN. After getting your RN license, you can begin forging your career as an IVF nurse.

If you know that fertility nursing is any area you wish to practice in, consider contacting a reproductive facility to inquire about volunteer opportunities during your nursing program. Gaining experience in the field you want to enter during your nursing program will significantly increase your chances of getting hired after graduation.

Also, remember that you will have many more upward mobility and employment opportunities if you achieve a minimum of a BSN instead of an ADN. Although you can still be a fertility nurse with an ADN, some hiring managers prefer hiring nurses with a BSN. As a result, some ADN-trained nurses may miss out on great nursing opportunities.

A Real Fertility Nurse's Journey

For further insight, Heather May, BSN, RN, shares her journey to becoming an IVF 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/IVF 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.

Fertility Nurse Career Outlook

The BLS reports that the field of registered nursing is projected to grow by 6% between 2022 and 2032. There will be a need for an additional 177,400 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 yearly, this field will continue to help women’s healthcare improve.

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Fertility Nurse FAQs 

  • How long does it take to become a fertility nurse? 

    • Becoming a fertility nurse takes 2-4 years, depending on your degree path. You can become an IVF nurse with a two-year associate's degree in nursing (ADN) or a four-year bachelor's degree in nursing (BSN) from an accredited college.
  • What is it like to be a fertility nurse? 

    • Fertility nurses work in dynamic healthcare environments that offer unique challenges and rewards. They get to facilitate the creation of new families using cutting-edge reproductive technology. The job can also take an emotional toll as they support patients through stressful situations.
  • Can a midwife become a fertility nurse? 

    • Yes - 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 care for women, couples, and families who need counseling or treatment options related to reproductive health. Also called fertility or IVF nurses, they commonly work with women struggling with infertility, couples having difficulty with conception, or women going through menopause.
  • What does a reproductive health nurse do?

    • Fertility nurses assist with scans, collect blood and other labs for testing, perform patient assessments, assist with physical examinations and embryo transfers, and provide patient education.
Sarah Jividen
Sarah Jividen Contributor

Sarah Jividen, RN, BSN, is a trained neuro/trauma and emergency room nurse turned freelance healthcare writer/editor. As a journalism major, she combined her love for writing with her passion for high-level patient care. Sarah is the creator of Health Writing Solutions, LLC, specializing in writing about healthcare topics, including health journalism, education, and evidence-based health and wellness trends. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children. 

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