Aroena Badal, senior technician

Aroena Badal has been working at the Gynecology department of the LUMC since 2012 and has meanwhile become a senior technician at the IVF-polyclinic. Her tasks are continually expanding and she continues to learn new things every day. “It really amazes me that I get increasingly more in touch with patients despite working at a lab.”

“Wouldn’t you like working at the Gynecology department?”, one of Aroena’s colleagues asked when Aroena was still working as a technician at the Department of Molecular Biology. The idea was definitely appealing, but she wasn’t hooked immediately: her fear of blood got in the way. However, that didn’t stop her from having an orientation day at the lab of the IVF-polyclinic. After conquering her fear for blood, there was one more fear to overcome: patient contact. “In my previous job, I online got to see the ‘patient numbers’ and not the actual people behind those numbers. What I thought was going to be hard about working with patients is witnessing their pain and emotions. But now I see how I can help people realize their dream of having a family. That’s really the beauty of my current work.” 

Placing an embryo
And it really makes Aroena’s work divers. “The first step of my work is to choose the right embryo with microscopic work. Next, the embryo gets placed back in a patient by a medical doctor and me.” The medical doctor is responsible for choosing the right position for the patient, but equally important is sucking up and injecting the embryo correctly. Once the medical doctor has determined the correct position for the patient, Aroena steps up to the plate. “I know the exact amount I need to inject to place the embryo. Sometimes, there’s only one chance to get it right and partly, that chance is my responsibility.”  

Proud of the result
One of the perks of working with patients, as far as Aroena is concerned, is that results are immediately visible. “For instance, not long ago at a party, a husband and wife approached me. I didn’t recognize them, but they sure recognized me.” Given the confidentiality of her work, Aroena herself would never approach patients, but this couple made it no secret that they were treated by her at the LUMC. “Can you see our baby over there?”, they asked. “Because of you and the medical doctor, the placing of the embryo was a success and we’re over the moon with the result.” For Aroena, moments like this are the icing on the cake. “It’s at times like these, that I feel proud and privileged to be able to do this work.”

From frozen ovary tissue to a successful pregnancy
And this is not the only success story of the department. In 2015, for the first time ever in the Netherlands, a patient was able to get pregnant by using froze ovary tissue. “One ovary had been removed from this patient and the outer shell containing immature eggs were frozen. Three years later this tissue got thawed and bits of ovarium tissue were placed back in the remaining ovary.” The IVF method was applied for this case, because only one of the ovaries appeared to be maturing. It was a nerve wracking moment for the department: was this single ovary going to be enough? The hard work paid off: the next day the ovary was fertilized and after placing back the embryo the patient became pregnant. “She even visited the department to show her child. Our whole team contributed to make this happen and together we actually did it.”