A Day in the Life of Coral High, Clinical Research and Data Coordinator
We speak to Coral High, Clinical Research and Data Coordinator about her job at the LWC in Harley Street and about the LWC's latest research projects.
My name is Coral High and I’m the Clinical Research and Data Coordinator at London Women’s Clinic (LWC) in Harley Street. I live just outside of London in an apartment I’ve just bought with my boyfriend. I’m lucky to have my family nearby and I still have a close group of friends from university and high school. I studied Biochemistry at the University of Nottingham which is where I first learnt about fertility. I took a module in human reproduction and decided that this is the area I wanted to pursue my career in.
Although I’d learnt about this at university, I had no work experience or face to face contact with any patients. I was offered a role working on reception at LWC in Harley Street which I thought was a great opportunity to get to know the industry better and have some patient contact. I worked on reception for six months before moving to the nursing team as a Health Care Assistant. Four years later I was offered the role as Clinical Research and Data Co-ordinator working directly with our Medical Director Professor Nick Macklon. This really plays to my strengths as I enjoy working with patients but also have a background in research.
A day in my life
I still work as part of the nursing team, so I spend my days looking after the patients at our Harley Street clinic. My job can be quite varied. On some days I work in theatre and recovery; assisting procedures such as egg collections for IVF or egg freezing. I also assist with embryo transfers by carrying out abdominal scans on patients during the procedure. Another part of my role is to see patients for injection teaching sessions to show them how to use their medication and self-inject before starting treatment, I will then meet with them after their scan appointments and discuss what medications to take and when depending on the response. I also assist with completing consent forms and blood tests. Other daily tasks will involve helping with emails and phone calls.
We are currently working with a pharmaceutical company on a research project studying a new stimulation drug that is used for IVF. This is a “Phase 4” study which means that the medication is approved for consumer sale, but further data is required. This study looks at the medication in real life settings and the persistency of use in consecutive cycles. Regular meetings take place between me and the pharmaceutical company. I meet with the patients who are interested in taking part in the research and ensure they are fully aware of what is involved, we discuss any benefits or risks and I give them enough time to ask any questions and to decide if they wish to be involved before helping them complete relevant consent forms. Following this, I act as their assigned nurse throughout their treatment. I will undertake a nursing consultation to help them understand how to take their medication and record the results of their treatment; this includes how long they took their medication for, how many eggs they had collected and whether they had a successful treatment cycle. I must make sure this is then loaded on to the live database within a certain time frame after the data is collected.
I am also excited to be working on a new implementation project looking into new technology to make fertility treatment as close to natural conception as possible, this involves a device that allows embryos to develop in the uterus rather than in the laboratory. Once the eggs have been inseminated or injected in the laboratory they are then loaded into a device which is inserted into the uterus to allow fertilisation and embryo development to occur in the natural environment. The device is then taken out and the embryos are assessed in the laboratory. The best quality blastocyst (day 5 embryo) is then transferred on the correct day to hopefully implant and result in a viable pregnancy. Any remaining blastocysts would then be frozen for the future.
Firstly, we had to trial the insertion and use of the device. I volunteered to participate in the project myself and had one of the devices inserted into my uterus (without any embryos) so that our doctors could be trained in how to perform the procedure. We feel that this new technology would be of particular interest to patients having egg donation and same-sex couples taking part in the shared motherhood programme as it enables them to be even more involved in their treatment, by allowing the embryos to grow in the uterus instead of the laboratory.
New research is very exciting, and we are very grateful to all the patients who have taken part in and those still considering participating in our clinical research and projects. We hope that research will continue to expand and play a key role at LWC to assist future fertility developments.
The best part of my job
The best part of my job is seeing patients after their pregnancy scans. It’s their last appointment with the clinic before we discharge them from our care, so it can get very emotional! Seeing a heartbeat at the scan appointment is a very special moment and I even cried seeing this for the first time! I love it when our patients send pictures of their babies and bring them into the clinic to visit us. I’ve been working on creating a new baby wall in the clinic, so have contacted over a hundred patients to ask if they’d like to be featured. They are all so proud to have a picture on the wall!
As well as continuing my role in clinical research at LWC, I’m hoping to gain more experience in preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). I studied genetics at university and I’m interested in potentially training to become a genetics counsellor in the future. I continue to keep my knowledge up-to-date and enjoy reading around the subject. I wish to continue learning more at LWC via the genetics team, specifically genetics within fertility. I am excited to see the new ideas and the development within the fertility sector in years to come.