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The Embryologist’s Role as Patient Communicator

Working within any small work team, but especially in ART, may create a lab language that simultaneously makes communication within the lab group easy and lunches in public problematic. Anyone who has ever discussed work assignments with their teammates over lunch in a restaurant, (umm, so who is “stripping” after lunch?) only to realize their table is suddenly the object of curious glances has experienced the unintended consequences of lab jargon.

Our lab language can also create confusion for our patients, if we don’t take time to translate for their understanding. It also helps to understand what most patients are interested in and what they could care less about. Feedback from patients who read my blog Fertility Lab Insider has given me some insight into areas of ART that patients find difficult to understand. Patients ask me questions privately via email or via a comment box on each post and often express their frustration that their clinic did not fully answer their lab-related questions.

A review of the five most popular blog posts in the last two years reveals a few recurring topics that interest patients.

  1. Embryo stages, progression and pregnancy outcomes
  2. Egg Count Mathematics: Why the numbers change between retrieval and transfer.
  3. Sperm Morphology: Kruger’s Strict vs. WHO criteria, what’s the difference?
  4. Understanding the Gardner blastocyst grading scale
  5. IVF Disasters: No Fertilization

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