Written by: Hillary Redwine | Posted:
Connie Wharton always knew she wanted to be a nurse but specializing in fertility wasn’t initially part of her plan. While serving as a corpsman in the United States Navy, Connie worked at a fertility clinic that was part of a military hospital in San Diego, California. It was there that she found her calling.
“I fell in love with the patients and the work,” Connie says.
While working at the military hospital, Connie spent one week out of each month at a civilian fertility clinic where she assisted with invitro fertilization (IVF) cycles that sometimes included an egg donor or gestational carrier.
“I got to see all sides of the fertility journey while working at the civilian clinic,” Connie explains. “It helped me to fully understand and appreciate the role egg donors and surrogates have in helping to create a family.”
The experience touched her so deeply, in fact, that Connie decided to become a gestational carrier after having her own children.
Supporting her patients
Today, Connie works as a registered nurse and IVF coordinator at OU Physicians Reproductive Medicine in Oklahoma City, where she has been since 2005. She says the best of her job is getting to be the person patients turn to when they need support.
“I coordinate cycles for one doctor, so I spend a lot of time getting to know the patients and their families; there’s a lot of continuity,” Connie explains. “I try to make everyone feel special. Each patient deserves my full attention and to know that I’m focused her, not the patients coming after her.”
Supporting her daughter through egg donation
In 2019, when Connie’s daughter, Jordan, approached her about wanting to become an egg donor, she immediately referred Jordan to Egg Donor Solutions (EDS). “I’ve always been impressed with the attention to detail and the follow ups when working with EDS,” Connie says. “They give the same attention to both parties [intended parents and egg donors] during the process, which is not all that common. I wanted to know that someone would be looking out for Jordan’s best interests, as well as the intended parents. I knew I could trust EDS with my daughter.”
Connie supported Jordan throughout her egg donation cycle, giving her injections, accompanying her to monitoring appointments (which she was able to do at OU) and traveling with her to Fort Worth, Texas for the initial visit with the intended parents’ physician and the egg retrieval.
“We did the whole thing together,” Connie says. “I’m glad Jordan wanted me to be part it and that I got to be there for her.”
The proud mom also notes that Jordan was a great donor. “She produced a lot of eggs, and after testing, there were 18 normal embryos!”
For Jordan, being able to lean on Connie and her experience as a nurse was invaluable. “I didn’t have many questions because this is something I grew up around, but it was really beneficial to have my mom there,” Jordan says. “She understood what everything meant [from a medical perspective] and knew what I needed when I needed it. I was also glad that I didn’t have to do the injections myself!”
Providing the inspiration to help create a family
When asked if she was inspired to become an egg donor because of Connie’s work at the fertility clinic, Jordan wholeheartedly agrees. “I grew up hearing about my mom’s patients and how all they wanted was to have a family,” Jordan says. “It was destined. Eventually, I was going to do this [help create a family] in some fashion. My mom and the other nurses take such great care of their patients and knowing that I can make a difference too, even at my age, is really neat.”
Jordan’s intended parents recently sent her a letter following the birth of their daughter, which, as Jordan explains, has been best part of her experience thus far.
“It felt great to get the letter,” Jordan says. “I can tell from their words how grateful they are when they look at their daughter. I hope I get to experience that feeling again with another family.”