Telling Work About IVF— Is Your Body Any of Their Business?

Starting IVF Treatment When You Work

So you’re ready to start your first IVF cycle. It’s a stressful and exciting time—and it also requires a number of visits to the fertility center, including visits for blood work, monitoring, the embryo transfer and follow-up consultations.

What can/should you tell your boss or other people at work? How much news do you want to share? What is your company’s policy on doctor appointments and other medical appointments? Let’s look at some issues and actions you may want to take.

Privacy Issues

Some people are comfortable sharing everything that happens to them with everyone in the office or other workplace. Other people are more private, and would rather keep the ups and downs of fertility treatment within a small circle of friends and family. Decide what you feel comfortable sharing with your boss or co-workers. Do you feel better or worse if people ask you how your treatment is going? Oversharing can increase the stress and pressure, but only you and your partner can decide what you want to communicate.

Company Policy and Workplace Environment

You may be lucky enough (or important enough at the office) that you can order your own schedule and no one will question it. If so, that’s wonderful, and you won’t have to tell anyone anything unless you choose to.

Unfortunately, most of us are not in that position. Find out your company’s policy on absences for medical appointments so you know where you stand. Also, consider who else in the office it will affect if you have to be away for a few hours on certain days. Who will pick up your work, or will you be able to make it up on your own? Think about it, and make a plan for how your work will get done.

Fertility Clinic Schedules

Many fertility centers, especially the larger ones, have satellite offices which can do the monitoring required, which may make it more convenient to get to your appointments. Some fertility centers have early or late hours and weekend times to help patients avoid missing work to as great an extent as possible. Make sure you know what the possibilities are, and ask for a schedule which is easier for you.

Telling Your Manager

Now that you’ve done your preparation, you may decide to talk to your manager. Different patients have managed this in different ways, depending on their relationship with their manager. If you are close and friendly, you may want to tell him or her that you’re having IVF treatment, how it will affect your schedule, and, finally, how you will manage your workload and/or take sick leave or other time off to compensate.

If you don’t want to spill the whole story, you could tell your manager that you are having some medical treatment that will require you to see your doctor frequently for the next few weeks, and then explain how you will manage your workload and/or take sick leave. Whatever you decide to do, it’s most important to stress to your manager that you’re concerned about your job and will do everything you can to keep things running smoothly.