How do I balance work and fertility treatment?

6 fertility expert(s) answered this question

How to balance IVF treatment and my work life?

Fertility treatment might be time-consuming. Tests, appointments, days off, hormonal medication, injections, mood swings. It can be hard to balance this with your work.

Answer from:
Psychologist, In Vivo Fertility, Founder and CEO In Vivo Fertility

How do I balance work and fertility treatment?
Once again, the answer to this question is absolutely idiosyncratic and unique to you and your work circumstances.
I will go through some of the issues I often encounter with the people I work with, and you tell me if they sound familiar…
You may be struggling with the demands of fertility treatments and your job performance may be suffering or not be your first priority anymore
If you happen to work long hours, travel for your work or be in a particularly demanding and stressful work environment, you may feel that your job is contributing to your sub-fertility issues.
Or that the time and energy commitments of Assisted Reproduction are overwhelming, and you are considering quitting your job, if that is of course an option you can afford…

And again, no solution is right for everyone. It depends on your circumstances, your work environment, the company, and colleagues you work with, your boss, whether you work from home, your financial circumstances, how much your career or work is a crucial part of your self-image and role in life. So many issues come into play.
For some people working MORE works better for them, others want to take it slowly.
Some decide to take a leave of absence rather than do something as radical as quit.
Another dilemma is whether you tell your work colleagues about your Assisted Reproduction treatments. Each decision has its pros and cons –
Openness about your fertility journey to your team at work may make treatments and doctor visits less complicated to explain or lie about…
On the other hand, you may not want the ‘special’ well-meant attention, and the reactions that such disclosure may bring about…
IT IS A matter of WHAT I CALL your personal ecology –
Your own balance sheet on the issue of work and Assisted fertility plans and outcomes…

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Founder of Your Fertility Hub

Juggling work and infertility can be really hard and it’s actually something that we just don’t talk about enough. It’s something that most people experience a lot of stress over so it’s really important for you to try and find your way to manage this better. First of all, it’s really important to know who knows at work, have you been able to share with your boss what you’re going through, and then there’s a bit more understanding around needing to go out to appointments, are you able to share with any of your colleagues and that might help some of the stresses and strains of people talking about pregnancy and children in the office and those sorts of things, and really set maybe some of those boundaries around the talking and also going out for treatment.

Another key area is looking at whether you’re able to take some leave from work whether that is leave just over specific treatments, leave over the results day or around your two-week wait, or a longer leave that you may be able to take to focus on your fertility journey because juggling both sometimes becomes a little incompatible. It’s really judging what is best for you as an individual, what is best for you at work, and trying to restructure around all of those things and it can be very stressful. If you do have the confidence of somebody in your organization like your boss that you’re able to talk to, it does make some of these decisions a lot easier. We’ve also done a podcast specifically on this so if you want to check out the Your Fertility Hub’podcast, we interviewed an HR consultant around some of the things that you can do around juggling work and fertility treatments.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Freedom Fertility Formula Specialist and co-host of The Fertility Podcast Freedom Fertility Formula Specialist and co-host of The Fertility Podcast

Work may be tricky, as you can be overwhelmed by the concern of being overlooked. If you tell someone at work that this is what’s happening, you might be worried about burdening your colleagues with additional work if you need to take time off. However if you can have a conversation about what might be happening, whether that’s full disclosure or just the fact that you might need some flexibility in what your work pattern looks like, that will enable you to feel more free in what’s coming because there will be a series if you’re going into treatment, there will be a series of scans and it might well be that you can plan them in the morning or in the evening if you’re not going into the office or if you can get away with not having to discuss it at work. But if you have that kind of relationship, it is worth looking to see if there is a policy at work to talk about fertility treatment as more and more workplaces are becoming more aware of this being a more important part of how they support employees. But thinking about that flexibility, thinking about what you need and being brave enough to have the conversation with those around you, will be a great way of you feeling empowered and hopefully coping with this process, because it can cause so much stress and when you think about how much time you spend at work, you should be able to talk about your needs and be supported by your employers.

Answer from:
Fertility Coach, Specialist Fertility and Miscarriage Counsellor Wendy Martin
Answer from:
Fertility Coach

I think this is a very important question because the combination of your fertility process and your work situation can cause a lot of stress. If everything goes well at this point, then it’s one essential thing to worry about.
There is a lot that I can tell about this because, as a fertility coach, I have worked extensively on this topic. I have written down five points of interest in this topic that I wanted to share with you.

First, consider how open you are at work about this. It’s not easy to decide how you will tell people at work, or whether to tell them at all. It’s a very intimate and private matter, and you may feel vulnerable because your boss might know that you could be pregnant in a few months. You might fear career consequences of it, so it’s not easy. However, being open about it can provide a better understanding, such as why you are absent a few times a month, and it can give you their support. Consider talking to a few colleagues or your boss if you have a good relationship with them, as sharing this information can also provide you with some relief.

Second, continue to plan enough holidays. As a fertility coach, I often see people using all their annual leave days to cover their absences due to their fertility process. Don’t do that because you need holidays to relax during this stressful process. Look for legal options or options within the company to cover these absences. It may be helpful to seek advice from your HR department or trade union.

Third, don’t lose your self-confidence. The fertility process can greatly affect your self-confidence, making you doubt yourself in various areas, including professionally. You might think that you cannot perform as well as your colleagues due to your situation. Don’t doubt yourself. You are doing a great thing by combining a job with a fertility process, which is almost like having a second job. Be proud of yourself and trust that you are good at your job, just like you always were.

Fourth, look for ways to make the fertility process and work combination as simple as possible. Practically speaking, look for places to have your follow-up appointments, ultrasounds, and blood work as close as possible to your home to minimize travel. Try to work from home as much as possible if your profession allows it. If you decide to talk about it at work, make it as easy as possible for yourself practically.

Fifth, find the golden mean. I have seen people who put their professional lives completely on hold, thinking it will reduce stress and increase their pregnancy chances. On the other extreme, some people focus entirely on their work to escape the emotions of the fertility process. Try to find a balance between these two extremes.
These are the five points of interest I wanted to share.

Answer from:
Psychologist, Head of Psychology and Emotional Support Unit Clinica Tambre

Many women think that they should take medical leave from their fertility treatments in order to be less stressed and have a better chance of becoming pregnant.

It is important to differentiate between everyday stress and pathological stress. Ideally, women should be able to integrate fertility treatment into their daily lives as much as possible, so that it is not the only thing they are exposed to. In general, when it becomes the only thing, emotional problems increase.

The mind is prepared to deal with different things at the same time and these treatments, when focused correctly, allow women to continue to lead a life that includes work, healthy leisure, holidays, etc.

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