In the first of our new series of ‘Meet the team’ blogs, we introduce Karen Dickens, who as Care Coordinator is a key member of our patient care team.

How did you begin your career in IVF?

I joined RHG in May 2014. I saw the job advertised whilst I was working in an administrative role in the public sector and knew straight away that this was for the job for me, as I love medicine and welcomed the opportunity to work directly with patients in such a unique setting as an IVF clinic.

What are your main responsibilities at RHG?

As Care Coordinator I am the point of contact for our patients who are undergoing fertility and IVF treatment, liaising with the nursing team and consultant to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible for the patients during their journey with us. I am there for them from their first consultation right up to reporting the outcomes of their treatment to our regulatory body, the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority). Along the way I arrange appointments, tests and scans, and deal with results and enquiries. I always ask patients to contact me at any time if they are unsure about anything or need any advice or support.  I also manage the diary of pregnancy outcomes and am lucky enough to share in our patients’ joy when a baby is born.  I am proud of the one to one care and personalised approach that RHG offers.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?

The most rewarding aspect is meeting new patients and then helping to guide and support them on their journey. I feel very privileged when patients say they will always hold us in high regard when they have children and keep in touch and introduce their beautiful babies to us.   It is always a special moment getting to meet in person or see the photographs of the babies born after treatment here and sharing the joy of the new families that we have helped to create. Being part of a team that helps people’s dreams to come true is priceless and I am proud of the achievements and dedication of the whole team.

What keeps you motivated?

RHG is developing all the time and striving to offer IVF’s best technologies and services to our patients – we are always looking to improve which helps to keeps me motivated as things are always changing and new opportunities opening up.

What would you advise people looking to start out in a role like yours?

If you are passionate about helping people a job in an IVF clinic can be one of the most rewarding career choices.  There are such a variety of different roles that suit your skills and interests and even whilst doing the job you can learn new things at the same time.

What are you most looking forward to about the future?

This is a particularly exciting time for RHG as we have just joined forces with IVF Spain, who already have several clinics in Spain and one in Germany, to become part of the IVF Life Group. I am looking forward to seeing how our new partnership develops and the opportunities that this will bring for both patients and staff.

We are pleased to advise that appointments are now available at our clinic in Daresbury with Mr Khalil Abdo, a leading expert with over 30 years experience in the field of fertility and women’s health.

Ultrasound scans and blood tests are also available as part of our ‘one stop’ service, limiting the number of visits that need to be made to the clinic.

“Women need to be listened to and I find that if you take the time to build trust and to encourage openness, we will not only find out what the problem is, but we will also be able to do something about it.” says Mr Abdo, who has practised as a consultant for many years in the Preston and Greater Lancashire areas.

To arrange an appointment with Mr Abdo please contact our Patient Services Team on 01925 202180 or at contact@reproductivehealthgroup.co.uk

Here at Reproductive Health Group we appreciate that many of our existing and prospective patients have questions about the impact of the current situation on fertility treatment.

On Friday 27th March at 3.30pm our Clinical Director, Professor Luciano Nardo, and Laboratory Director Karen Schnauffer will present a live briefing on the most up to date advice and guidance.

The link to the 3:30pm webinar will be: https://zoom.us/s/658477814

How did you begin your career in IVF?

After training in Italy, London and Manchester I was appointed as a consultant in the IVF Unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester, where I was responsible for all aspects of reproductive medicine and surgery as part of a team of IVF specialists. I worked there full time until 2011 when I left to set up the practice which became RHG.

What are your main day to day responsibilities at RHG?

As Clinical Director of our clinic in Daresbury I have overall responsibility for our patients fertility journeys – from their initial consultation and diagnosis, deciding on the most appropriate course of treatment, devising their IVF treatment protocols in conjunction with my colleagues in our embryology and nursing teams, seeing the patients in my clinic and performing egg collections and embryo transfers. As an experienced reproductive surgeon I also carry out surgical procedures during my theatre sessions, including laparoscopic and hysteroscopic surgery, which can be done as day cases in our on-site theatre here at the Centre for Reproductive Health.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?

The feedback that we regularly get from our patients is the most rewarding aspect by far. When we receive cards and letters with comments such as ‘I can finally say I’m a mum, it’s the best feeling in the world’, ‘Thank you for helping us achieve our dream’, these comments are not just aimed at me but at our whole team who have worked together to help our patients get to this point. Being a part of that team is very rewarding.

What has been your proudest moment at RHG?

The opening of the Centre for Reproductive Health, as the first integrated fertility hospital in the UK, was a very proud time for all of us here at RHG. The birth nine months later of our first baby born after IVF treatment ‘all under one roof’ at the Centre was also a very special moment.

We are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with renowned private healthcare providers Greater Lancashire Hospital to launch a new, exciting IVF service locally.

This new collaboration is now at the forefront of women’s health, IVF and fertility care in the North West.

Here at RHG we are known for our highest standards of treatment and levels of compassionate care, and we are delighted to team up with the Greater Lancashire Hospital who have handpicked a team of consultants with the highest quality and experience in the field of women’s health to lead the new service.

Norann RozarioNorann Rozario

Norann has over 30 years experience as a nurse over a wide variety of disciplines. Norann has this to say about the new service “I’m very much looking forward to this new collaboration as women’s health has always been a field that I am especially interested in. I’m also looking forward to working alongside Mr Abdo, who is not only an expert in his field but also an approachable and caring physician”.


Khalil AbdoKhalil Abdo

Mr Abdo is a world renowned and respected Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who has amassed a wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge in his 30 year career working in women’s health. Colleagues and patients alike are quick to praise Khalil for his understanding and sympathetic approach.

Together our renowned, caring teams means this service will be one of the first in Lancashire to offer integrated women’s health and fertility services locally, with a focus on providing the best possible experience for all patients.

Would you like to find out more about this exciting new IVF Service? Please contact our team here or call us on 01925 202 180.

Danielle joined RHG in November 2016 with over 13 years experience in finance and credit control along with a variety of finance skills and qualifications. Away from work she enjoys socialising with friends, travelling and going to the cinema.

Danielle, what are your main day to day responsibilities at RHG?

I meet with patients on a face to face basis, dealing with enquiries and providing breakdowns of costings for treatment. I also raise invoices, ensure accounts are up to date, and look after credit control for the company.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?

I enjoy the face to face contact with our patients and making sure that they are happy with the information and the costings given. With our fertility patients, seeing them again when they come back into the clinic after finding out that they are pregnant is very nice.

What do you think makes RHG different from other clinics?

Our staff  and the one to one, personalised care that our patients get from our team. We get to know them and in some cases build friendships with them. Professor Nardo’s expertise is also a big part of what makes our clinic different from others.

Karen joined RHG in October 2018 after with many years of experience of nursing in gynaecology and sexual health settings and most recently working as a practice nurse. Outside of work she enjoys listening to music, going to concerts, spending time with her family and walking with her dog.

Karen, what are your main day to day responsibilities at RHG?

On a day to day basis, my duties can involve spending time both in theatre and on the ward, chaperoning our ultrasound clinics, medication teaches for our fertility patients, completing consent forms and dealing with enquiries from our patients.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?

I enjoy the opportunities for patient contact most of all. Seeing our fertility patients from the start of their journey through to the end result is also extremely rewarding.

What do you think makes RHG different from other clinics?

We have a real emphasis on the multidisciplinary team here, with everyone working together for the same aim. As well as all the different members of our own team, we also work alongside all our different Patient Support Partners to help support our patients further still.

Read more on our Patient Support Partners here.

We’re proud to introduce Sue, one of our Front of House Executives, working alongside her colleague Liz as one of the first people you’ll meet when you arrive at our clinic.  Sue joined RHG in 2017 with over 13 years experience in reception work. Away from work she enjoys spending time walking with her dog and relaxing with friends and family.

Sue, what are your main day to day responsibilities at the clinic?

I work mornings so arrive before the day’s activities begin to prepare the reception and waiting areas, making sure that everything is clean and tidy and that the drinks dispensers are filled. Once patients and visitors begin to arrive, I am responsible for greeting everyone in a friendly, professional and courteous manner. I also take incoming telephone calls and transfer these through to the correct colleague or department and deal with enquiries. All non-patient visitors to the clinic need to be logged and issued with passes or fobs.  As patients come back down to Reception following their appointments they may need further visits or appointments arranging.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?

Sometimes patients can understandably be nervous or anxious when they arrive for their appointment, particularly if they are fertility patients attending for something like a viability scan to see if their fertility treatment has been successful. To meet them again afterwards and see the difference when they have been given good news is very rewarding.

 What has been your proudest moment at RHG?

It’s nice when patients leave the clinic with a smile and thank me for my help especially during what may be a difficult time for them.

Meet Claire Caldow, one of our Patient Support Partners. Claire’s background is in psychology and person centred counselling and she trained as a Freedom Fertility Coach following her own IVF fertility journey.

She is passionate about supporting the emotional wellbeing of those experiencing fertility challenges, supporting and empowering individuals and couples to understand and regain emotional control transforming how fertility issues are impacting upon their lives.

Here one of Claire’s current clients explains how she and her partner have found fertility coaching to be beneficial:

“After 2 years trying tirelessly to conceive a baby and suffering a heartbreaking miscarriage in 2017, we were referred to the NHS for investigations. Unfortunately, we had a 6 month wait for our appointment and therefore made the choice to go to a private clinic. Within a month we were about to start IVF treatment and that was when the panic set in.

The desire for a baby had consumed our lives for 2 years; it was a constant weight on our minds. We would leave children’s birthday parties feeling rock bottom as we wondered if we would ever have a child of our own. We would cry to each other and share a feeling of grief each and every month that we had not succeeded in becoming pregnant. We knew we had to try IVF as my AMH level was low. However, the week before starting treatment we felt very vulnerable, we had been through such an emotional roller coaster already and we felt mentally drained. We knew that we had to somehow be positive and stay focused to survive the next month and give ourselves the best chance but we felt that we were drowning in our own fears, doubt and “what if?” questions.

It was then then that we found Claire. As soon as I spoke to her on the phone, I felt that a weight had been lifted. It was such a relief to find someone who knew exactly what we were going through and was willing to be by our side on every step of our IVF journey. During our sessions with Claire, we opened up about our fears and thoughts about IVF. She was fantastic at helping us face each step of our IVF treatment at a time and gave us strategies to stop our minds wandering out of control with the “what if?” questions. I called her “my security blanket” as she helped us completely change our mindsets and outlook in order to imagine what we wanted to happen but she was there for us to run back to whenever we needed her during our treatment.

The 2 week wait was the most difficult time as the stomach pains from the medication I was taking reminded me of our miscarriage. If it hadn’t been for the strategies and resources that Claire had given us, I honestly believe I would’ve lost all hope during those weeks. Instead, I stayed in control of my mindset, visualised what we wanted and after 2 weeks we found out that we were pregnant! It was the most incredible feeling in the world but of course the day after, the fears set in. Claire’s strategies and techniques to stay positive and in control are helping us through the pregnancy and I’ll be eternally grateful for the skills she has given us, not just for the pregnancy but for life.”

You can view Claire’s profile here.

We are delighted to introduce Katrina Green, our Healthcare Assistant here at our Daresbury clinic. Katrina joined our friendly nursing and care services team earlier in the year and has fast become an integral part of our team. Here is a little bit about Katrina in her own words.

Katrina, what are your day to day responsibilities in the clinic?

My role is quite a varied one and includes phlebotomy (taking bloods), supporting the consultants and nurses and acting as chaperone for the nurses when they are in clinic with the patients.

What aspect of your role is the most rewarding?

Seeing the patients fertility journey from beginning to end is very rewarding. Every patient’s journey is an individual one, I see different things every day with different patients, but to be part of it all is just such a privilege. I also like to learn new things, which I have the opportunity to do in this role.

What has been your proudest moment at RHG?

Just being involved in the patient journey and playing a part in it makes me very proud.