Only a quarter of STEM roles are filled by women. Yet one of the most competitive, stressful and life-changing fields is dominated by women. Around 90% of embryologists are women.
To inspire young women just heading-off to university, or starting out on their careers, our lab manager, Anna Vincent, looks back on her career and shares how she became an embryologist:
I studied Human Reproduction at Leeds University and then onto a Masters at Imperial College London. While working in a hospital I came across clinical embryology, I could see it was a fantastic opportunity to combine helping couples while being at the cutting edge of science in an ever-improving field.
The world of embryology is exciting and constantly evolving with new research leading to big steps in IVF treatments, such as ICSI and freezing. But importantly, wanting a family myself, I saw how I could help patients achieve something so important.
I knew it was what I wanted to do. But it’s incredibly hard to get into. When I was applying, there were only three training positions in the whole of the UK.
It takes a certain personality type. It’s stressful, you need good attention to detail and have to be able to multi-task. But it suits me. I’m a reasonably calm person and I find a little stress is good, it keeps me on my toes.
I AM SO PROUD TO BE WHERE I AM. THE TEAM AT OXFORD ARE DRIVEN TO DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN FOR EVERY PATIENT.
It’s also a role in which you can travel. With many of the practices the same worldwide, its common for people to work all over the world. It led me to working for many years in Canada, where I built an IVF Lab from scratch, leading the clinic to introducing world-leading techniques not yet common in Canada.
Before Canada I trained in London and Oxford, returning to Oxford Fertility six years ago. I am so proud to be where I am. The team at Oxford are driven to do everything they can for every patient – even if it means opening the clinic especially for an embryo transfer to ensure the timing is right.
It’s also exciting that Oxford Fertility is part of The Fertility Partnership. IVF success is all in the detail – the smallest thing can make the biggest difference. So with eight clinics across the UK, the embryologists in the Fertility Partnership can share insight, developments and analyse techniques for success on much bigger numbers. The more knowledge you have, the more breakthroughs you’ll make.
IT’S ALSO EXCITING THAT OXFORD FERTILITY IS PART OF THE FERTILITY PARTNERSHIP.
I would encourage any young woman or man interested in STEM to consider entering this fascinating field that really does change lives. I’m glad I did.
If you are interested in working for us, please visit our careers page for our latest vacancies.