My move from being an embryologist to a fertility coach

We are so excited to introduce you to Sandy, an incredible fertility coach with an incredible background

I’m Sandy, an American Swede now living in the UK, an embryologist using my background and scientific expertise to offer a unique insight to fertility coaching.

In 2009, with a Masters degree in Biomedical Sciences, I started as a trainee embryologist at the Reproductive Medicine Centre in Malmo. My laboratory manager had a passion for IVF that was so contagious it was easy to fall in love with it myself. During the four years I worked there, I acquired skills such as semen analysis and preparation, DNA fragmentation analysis, egg collection, conventional IVF, ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), embryo assessment, embryo transfer, slow freezing of embryos and vitrification (flash freezing).

In order to achieve the title of Clinical Embryologist in Sweden, I had to pass an exam and became certified through ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology). When studying for the exam, I discovered that the world of IVF beyond my clinic offered more services (like genetic screening, surrogacy or donation services), and thats when I realised that in order to grow in my career – I needed to move.

In 2013 I accepted the role as Clinical Embryologist at a private fertility clinic on Harley Street and made the move to London

I continued my training and acquired a new skillset that meant I qualified for HCPC registration (health and care professions council). I worked with a lovely team that taught me the ropes and I later moved on to become a Senior Embryologist at a large NHS IVF clinic where I continued to develop my skills, like learning how to biopsy embryos for pre-implantation genetic screening, and in turn use my skillset to train junior members of staff.

Working in multiple clinics has enabled me to become a highly skilled embryologist, but it has also opened my eyes to how different every clinic is, and how subsequently – every patient experience is different

Working in smaller clinics enabled me to have a closer patient contact and made me realise that there is a large variance in patient support, and sometimes a very large gap in treatment.

As embryologists we would speak to patients after their egg collection, throughout the culture of embryos in the laboratory and sometimes that also meant, delivering bad news. We would speak to patients in cases when no eggs were collected during retrieval, or when no eggs fertilised after insemination or when no embryos survived after a thaw.

Simultaneously we were also the ones that tried to continuously deliver messages of hope and reassurance, while our patients wondered what was going on in the laboratory, putting their trust in us that their embryos would make it to transfer day, that it would bring them one step closer to their dreams of bringing home a baby.

The process of trying to achieve a pregnancy can be so overwhelming. Patients going through fertility challenges have expressed feelings of depression and isolation

IVF in itself is psychologically and emotionally stressful, with the constant fear and threat of permanent infertility and loss of hope. There are so many scientific papers referencing these exact emotions and struggles, and yet in most cases there’s little support offered alongside reproductive treatment.

That’s what’s led me to become a fertility coach

My extensive IVF and fertility knowledge enables me to be your mentor during any reproductive treatment. I’m your dedicated coach with answers to any questions on your fertility journey, whether you’re struggling to understand what’s going on during your treatment, or the confusing terminology, or help in interpreting results – I’m your person.

Fertility coaching also gives you the opportunity to focus exclusively on yourself, in a safe and confidential environment. It’s a personalised service that is tailored to you and your needs, and no client nor session is the ever the same.

We discuss your background and fertility history, and help you understand your own body better. We can discuss your lifestyle and create a bespoke plan if you need to make any adjustments to increase your chances of achieving a pregnancy.

We work through things together

We can work through anxieties and emotions that could be negatively affecting your life and try to restore balance, so you can regain confidence and increase your wellbeing. We can help prepare you and your body for IVF so youre giving it the absolute best chance of working. We can discuss any hardships you’ve had when going through previous IVF cycles and work out your next steps. Together.

Since becoming a fertility coach Ive been able to help women, men and couples work through their fertility journeys, giving them the extra support they needed, and helped them feel better about themselves on the way. If you’ve been struggling to conceive or going through IVF and this sounds like something you may need, get in touch.

If you would like to get in touch with Sandy, you can contact her via her website, or you can DM her via her instagram account.

Sandy Christiansen, MSc, BSc, ESHRE Certified Clinical Embryologist, HCPC registered Clinical Embryologist and Fertility coach.

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