When Catherine, a director at a financial services firm, moved her family—and her fertility journey—to the U.K., she turned to Maven for holistic support. Maven became Catherine's go-to resource for fertility care, assistance navigating the U.K. healthcare system, and emotional support during her family-building process.
Learning a new healthcare system with Maven’s help
When Catherine moved to the U.K., she experienced a sort of ‘culture shock’ interacting with the National Health System (NHS), because it was so unlike what she was accustomed to back home. She was used to seeing specialists in Seattle who would make time for her and talk through all her questions—which was not the case in the U.K. “In London, if I call the doctor with a question, it’s a five-minute phone call,” Catherine said. “I don’t have a network here, so it’s hard to find new referrals for private providers, especially at first.”
Maven helped her cope by offering a hands-on, personalized approach to fertility care. After consulting with her Care Advocate, Catherine met with a Maven fertility awareness specialist. The fertility awareness specialist made her feel comfortable asking any and all questions, and Catherine has since followed up with her several times to discuss her journey. “I liked that Maven was a longer appointment. It was really helpful to talk through what we've been doing, and the different things I've been tracking,” Catherine said. “It was reassuring.”
Catherine also met with a nutritionist, who eased some of her worries and concerns. “The nutritionist basically said, ‘You’re doing everything right. Don’t change what you’re doing.”
Compassionate support through an early loss
Catherine found that the support from Maven was most helpful during and after her experience with an early pregnancy loss. Early loss before 13 weeks is the most common type of pregnancy loss, occurring in around 10% of known pregnancies. After arriving at the hospital, Catherine was attended to by a nurse she hadn’t met before. “It was the end of the day, and it felt kind of rushed,” Catherine said. “I had all these questions about it and I was really upset, but she was very formal and business-like, maybe because she sees so many women going through this every day.” The experience highlighted the contrast between the care Catherine was familiar with in Seattle and the new system she was navigating in the U.K.
After leaving the hospital, Catherine was able to book an appointment with a Maven OB-GYN for additional guidance—and realized that her provider lived in her hometown in the U.S. “I booked with her, and there was something so reassuring about knowing where she lives, that that’s where I grew up and we had this small thing in common. I get emotional thinking about it.” Her Maven OB-GYN buoyed her spirits, empathizing with the hardship of her loss and inspiring her to keep trying. “That was such a helpful call. She was like, ‘I'm sorry you didn't have a great experience. It doesn't sound like you felt really cared for.’ She was so nice and so reassuring and answered all my questions. We ended up going a little over time and she was like, ‘You're going to get pregnant again.’” The compassion Catherine felt from her provider helped renew her sense of hope moving forward.
Catherine also used Maven to talk to a reproductive endocrinologist to help her make a decision about moving to fertility treatments. Her general practitioner based in the U.K. “knew nothing about fertility.” Catherine was able to get some bloodwork done, and the doctor put her on a referral list, which would take months. “In January, they told me that if I got a call by Christmas for an initial intake appointment for fertility treatment, I would be lucky.” Catherine’s Maven Care Advocate provided a referral list of fertility clinics in London, including Maven’s partner IVI in London where Catherine was able to secure an appointment the following week.
Using Maven for referrals has been an effective way for Catherine to find in-person support, especially having moved to a new country during a global pandemic. “I had no one. It’s hard to get referrals from new friends for something so personal.” Catherine and her husband met regularly with a Maven reproductive nurse in Ireland who became her main source for answers throughout the IUI and IVF process in the NHS. “Once I connected with her, I realized she speaks the language of the U.K. medical system, but is much more friendly,” Catherine explained. Despite the challenges of navigating the fertility process in the U.K., Catherine found providers on Maven who made her feel at ease and in control.
Finding comfort in trusted relationships with providers
As she met with different Maven providers, Catherine was grateful to have trusted sources to talk to during the trying process of fertility. “Fertility challenges can feel like a secret thing that a lot of people are going through that they don't necessarily talk about, because they aren't sure how people are going to react,” Catherine explained. Fertility, unfortunately, remains deeply stigmatized in the workplace, with women more likely to suffer from feelings of shame and inadequacy when facing infertility. Maven provided a safe space for Catherine to talk about what she was going through.
Catherine appreciated that the support she found through the ups and downs of building a family was continuous. “That's what's been nice about Maven—if I have a rapport with someone, I can have a relationship with them and talk to them again.” With Maven, Catherine has a team that prioritizes making her feel respected and understood on her journey to parenthood. “Maven is an amazing resource for connecting with women's health practitioners in an easy way, no matter where you are or what health system you are navigating.”
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