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Career Q&A: Caroline O'Dea, Sims IVF Clinic Manager

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Caroline spent 17 years supporting primary school leaders in her role as Operations Manager at the Irish Primary Principals’ Network. She decided on a career move and joined Sims IVF, Cork. Ireland’s leading fertility clinic, Sims IVF has been working with men and women across Ireland since 1997. We recently caught up with Caroline, Clinic Manager, on both her role at Sims IVF Cork and the upcoming projects that she is working on.

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to work with Sims IVF?

Before Joining Sims IVF Cork, I worked for a national charity supporting primary school leaders for 17 years.

After such a length of time, when the opportunity to join Sims IVF Cork came up, I felt it was the right move to challenge me personally and professionally.

I was quite apprehensive but excited by the transition. What I realised very quickly was the technical skills – budgets, finance, facilities, infrastructure, IT and our soft skills -communication, leadership, people management – they apply to all work environments, with some changes in language or application, but all very transferrable.

What attracted you to work for a company like Sims IVF?

Sims IVF Clinics adhere to core principles that very much align with my own values; trust, respect, learning; with a commitment to patient care at the centre. If you’re going to give your all to a role and organisation, it’s important that these align.

Sims IVF commit to leading learning in fertility science and providing authentic and transparent support to patients on their fertility journeys.

Sims IVF Clinics in Ireland are also part of the Virtus Health Group. The Cork Clinic has the dual attraction of being a small, intimate, patient-care centered clinic while having the support of, and access to, international best practice in countries where Virtus have a presence: Australia, Singapore, Denmark and the UK.

There is an amazing talented and committed team of Embryologists, Nurses, Patient Coordinators, and Fertility Consultants at Sims. Each of them generous in sharing their knowledge, experiences and time.

How has your industry evolved in Ireland in recent times? What are the new trends and innovations we are seeing in the sector?

The introduction of Embryoscope has had a real impact over the last few years.

Embryoscope is an incubator; with a built-in camera, that takes an image of the developing embryos every 10 minutes.

Over 2 – 5 days, these images allow us to build a time-lapse video. This then allows our embryologists to continuously observe embryos during their development undisturbed; which can then assist in the selection of embryos that are more likely to result in pregnancy.

Our Virtus Health Scientists, along with Chief Data Scientists in Australia, have taken the huge amount of data generated from embryo scope images to develop Artificial intelligence (AI) technology in fertility. This is a very exciting development for patients.

You are running a Fertility Awareness Week at the end of the month. This can be a very emotive topic; how do you find women react when you speak to them about it and how do you open the conversation around it?

Fertility awareness is a topic that the Nursing team at Sims IVF Cork in particular, are extremely passionate about.

From July 22, Sims IVF Clinics Ireland will run a nationwide campaign to raise the topic of fertility. There have been such advancements in women’s health conversations over the last few years that the issue of fertility is well on its way to going beyond ‘closed-door’ conversations.

Most women are quite assertive when it comes to talking about their health and wellbeing, fertility sits right in there – in conversations around healthy fertility for both women and men.

To support the campaign, Sims IVF Cork will provide free AMH test appointments to women in August and September. Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone released by the total pool of eggs left in a woman’s ovaries.  A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have. These eggs then decline in number with age and so does the AMH level.

A woman’s AMH level compares with the range expected for her age. An AMH level is one of many bits of information that builds a picture. It is not a test for egg quality, only quantity and can be run at any time. A free webinar is also available on Wednesday, July 24 from 8 pm – 9 pm with Dr. Florencia Steinvacal, who will talk about the AMH test, causes of infertility and options available for treatment.

Finally, 200 appointment slots will be provided for free between 12 and 2 throughout August and September. To learn more or book an appointment visit

Interested in a career like Caroline’s?

Cpl works with Sims IVF in Dublin and Cork and has supported on positions across Healthcare, Finance and Office Support. If you are looking for a new job opportunity, get in touch with Grace Lynch who would be delighted to support you in your search.