21 October 2019
Chloe, 28, is a midwife based in the South West of England. Alongside her midwifery work, she runs ‘Embaby Art’ – a business that creates bespoke watercolour paintings of embryos for families going through IVF.
How did Embaby Art come about?
I have always been arty. I got my best grades in art at school and have always enjoyed painting and creating things. Just after I qualified as a midwife, I set up a small business of painting pet portraits and creating greetings cards.
Earlier this year, a friend was going through IVF and asked me to paint a watercolour of her embryo image. When she shared this image, the response to it was marvellous - and so Embaby Art was born!
Why do you think the work that Embaby produces is important?
Families who are trying to conceive, and who have come to the stage of having IVF have already been through such a journey.
For these families, the image of their beautiful little cluster of cells is a glimmer of hope for the future.
I thought that these images could be brought to life by adding some colour and creating a bespoke piece of art for families to have in their home. Something to cherish until their little one hopefully arrives safe and well. I think this little glimmer of hope is so important, to help families stay positive at such an emotional time.
Can you talk us through the process of creating one of your bespoke pieces?
I start with a colour scheme that has been requested by the family purchasing a piece. I test out how the colours might go together and the best shades to use. I work from the pre-transfer image – the black and white embryo photo – and use it as a reference guide. I then create a flowing, soft blend of colours from the chosen colour palette. I love to work with watercolours, as there's a degree of the paint going where it wants to go, and I like not having full control of this. I think watercolour is a beautiful medium for this type of work.
Why did you decide to raise money for Tommy's?
Through my midwifery training and practice, I have seen the great work that Tommy's do. I often refer women to their information and use it as a learning resource for myself. I felt that raising money as part of Embaby Art is a way to give back to Tommy's and help them continue their work of saving little lives.
I painted an embryo as a gift for Tommy’s ambassador, Izzy Judd, and she loved it. She subsequently commissioned artwork as a gift for her friend. I'm so grateful for Izzy's help and support and interest in Embaby, and I have loved working with her on my recent creations.
Why do you think the work of Tommy's is so important?
Tommy’s provides evidence-based information which is so important to fully inform families. Tommy's has a massive community of families, sharing their stories and helping others. Their work in breaking taboos is extremely important - helping parents understand that they are not to blame when in times of miscarriage and stillbirth, and that it’s important for us all to discuss these losses, so that women and families don't feel alone or isolated.
A recently published article, co-authored by Professor Catherine Williamson from Tommy’s Research Centre at King’s College London, suggests that certain pregnancy complications can indicate future health issues for women.
Tommy’s has received a grant from the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care to support the costs of its PregnancyHub information and support services throughout the summer, due to rising demand in the wake of coronavirus.
Although recruitment to some clinical trials had to be paused when coronavirus hit the UK, scientists at Tommy’s Research Centres across the UK are still hard at work, supporting women and families in our specialist clinics and sharing their latest studies with academic journals.
The day before Mother’s Day, and two days before the UK officially went into coronavirus lockdown, Zara Dawson found out she was having a miscarriage. Her third consecutive miscarriage in less than a year, and fourth consecutive loss, after losing her second son Jesse in 2018 to termination for medical reasons.