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Fertility Nurse of the Month: Margaret Ann Connors, BSN, MSN, CRNP
Shady Grove Fertility, Rockville, Maryland, March 2011
FertilityAuthority is pleased to honor Margaret Ann Connors, BSN, MSN, CRNP as Fertility Nurse of the Month. Connors is the Donor Egg Team Nurse Practitioner at Shady Grove Fertility in Maryland, the fertility clinic she has worked with since 2005. In this position, she works with potential egg donors and assures that all egg donors accepted into the program meet Shady Grove Fertility’s criteria.
Connors conducts Shady Grove Fertility’s Donor Days, which combine egg donors’ four to five screening appointments into one visit, and she sees three to four potential egg donors in one day. For each potential donor she conducts a physical examination, and reviews and updates their medical history.
“We do a three-generation family history — four if the donor has children. We particularly focus on any diseases that could be heritable. I also look for anything that may cause this donor to be undesirable to recipients,” Connors says.
That’s followed by additional medical and psychological testing, an overview of the fertility clinic, and finally a review of the potential egg donor’s tests, and how the donor’s and recipient’s cycles are synchronized. In addition, “I talk to them about the recipient's journey through infertility, particularly the grieving process and the financial burden of infertility treatment, particularly donor egg. I also review the choices the recipient has in selecting a donor: a Shady Grove donor, an egg donation agency, using a known egg donor, etc.,” Connors explains.
“I close with reviewing medications that they will use in their cycle," she continues. "I have them give themselves an injection of salt water and handle the medications they will have to use. By then, I feel comfortable in consenting them to be an egg donor."
Connors, a Woman’s Health Nurse Practitioner, had a 25-year career as a Navy Nurse Corps Officer. And, she has both a personal history and professional history with infertility. She was an infertility patient and had two unsuccessful IVF cycles. As for her career, she says, “I initially worked with the REI program at Portsmouth Naval Hospital about two years after I became a Nurse Practitioner. I did the complete [fertility] workups on about 19 new patients a week. Although we didn't do IVF there, we did ovarian hyperstimulation and artificial insemination. I managed the patients under physician guidance until they needed IVF or surgery.
"When I came to Shady Grove," she continues, "the need was in the growing donor egg team. In 2005 we had approximately five full-time donor team nurses, two part-time nurses and three ancillary staff. We now have 10 full-time nurses and 10 ancillary staff."
?There are several aspects of her role at Shady Grove Fertility that Connors mentions as high-points. “We are always changing as we continue to improve and grow,” she says. “I am surrounded by staff who love their jobs and are great to work with. I also feel that what I do ultimately helps both the recipient and the donor. We are offering the recipients a fully screened pool of desirable donors who give them a 68 to 72 percent chance of pregnancy. On the flip side, we are aiding donors to help someone and providing them full medical screening. We frequently pick up things that may not have been picked up at an annual exam and refer them for care. More than once, a donor has called me because they needed a better explanation of something that happened in their personal provider’s office, and they didn't understand. They seem to feel comfortable talking to me and trust me, so I think they trust Shady Grove too."
?The biggest challenge in her position, Connors says, is that there are never enough hours in the day. “It’s also tough to decline a potential egg donor you really like,” she adds.
Margaret Ann Connors’ dedication to fertility patients who are building their families through egg donation — and the egg donors who help make that a reality — is evident. We congratulate her on being recognized as Fertility Nurse of the Month.
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In honor of these hard working nurses who hold our hands throughout our treatment experiences, FertilityAuthority.com will feature a dedicated infertility clinic nurse each month. You can nominate your favorite clinic nurse by clicking here. We will contact you if your nurse is chosen to be our Nurse of the Month.