IVF and Occupational Health

Hello all

I had an interview with a doctor at Occupational Health and thought I'd update that actually I found it quite helpful. I've had odd days off then finally being signed off for I think 5 weeks total going through latter stages of my failed FET (side effects and emotional turmoil became too much). My manager referred me as she is concerned about my job in an adoption team and the impact on me whilst undergoing treatment. I wanted to go to ask advice on future treatment as we are going to keep trying & I wasn't sure how it would be viewed. 

Naturally the doctor knew less about the process than me (I got my medical qualification through 100+ hours Google time!!) but she has experience of patients undergoing this and was able to immediately identify feelings of stress/ unable to plan ahead/ isolation/ grief and subsequently will write to my employer to say the future is uncertain and that there may be possible further absences. She was also going to write that I've followed medical advice and am undertaking complementary therapies. 

Interestingly she said that research has shown the drugs and stress associated with IVF is similar to that experienced by chemotherapy patients which I found alarming but I did find it online. 

I feel reassured & although it's a bit humiliating, better to face this unknown future head on ... Good Luck to all 💗

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  • Hello 

    I've also read that the stress experienced going through Infertility/IVF is similar to someone coping with cancer/heart disease etc. Sadly, people don't appreciate this and to be honest I don't think they would believe it either which just makes it more difficult to deal with! 

    It sounds like the doctor you spoke to was really good and well informed on the emotional aspects. It can really help to speak to someone who just 'gets it'. 

    Best of luck with your future treatment. 

    x x 

  • Thanks Hopeful1982 I really felt ready to try to justify my stress and upset but she was so understanding. Infertility feels so unfair and no one talks about it - when they try it is (in my experience) a token attempt at sympathy ... But this is hellish. I keep thinking about my two consecutive failures and the negative thought patterns are now keeping me awake ... Definite fear of failure creeping in! 

    Thank you for replying, lots of love xx

  • Hi hon, I've been referred to OH too as I'm off for 3 weeks just now, and with an absence a few months ago for stress (work combined with delayed grief reaction/post traumatic stress following miscarriage) I've hit the trigger for review plus my manager was concerned. I found it more beneficial talking to the OHA than I expected, and it felt good to have someone on my side. I have a followup with her tomorrow as she knows today was my otd, and will be explaining I need more time off this week for follow ups and she has already said if things don't work out, when I do go back to work she'd recommend extra support needed if I'm finding things getting on top of me. She also pointed out various protections we are entitled to.

    I'm glad you're feeling a bit more settled following this and a little less isolated. xx

  • Thanks - and thank god someone is on our side! Fingers crossed for a healthy pregnancy for you so you can enjoy maternity leave when it starts ... It must feel like a dream after all you've been through 🙏🏼 xx

  • I'm glad it was helpful. I haven't been to OH during treatment but had been to them previously and they were supportive. My employers also have a free counseling service which I've used several times.

    I had approx 4 weeks off sick after the first BFN due to stress/disbelief that it hadn't worked.

  • Hi, I am so glad that finally someone is having this dialogue about how stressful this IVF process is, and that it is OK to take time off for yourself. I was beating myself up for taking some time off work. Glad to know I am not alone. Sometimes you just have step back and look after yourself first. ☺ 

  • I know! The Nurses made me believe that most women come to the clinic get probed and scanned then skip off to work and forget about it - the more I read and talk to others the more I am starting to think it's just ignorant to think this does not consume you! I was ill with side effects (worse through FET than fresh cycle actually) but cycle of negative emotions and expecting a second failure led me to crack and I just was not interested in my work! I think people with children who have not experienced this can NEVER understand the humiliation and changing emotions. I have counselling tomorrow and I already feel nervous about how I'll be after that. Please don't ever feel alone, we are all sharing in the misery, waiting and hoping... do put yourself first and do not believe anyone who trivialises this - it's your body and only YOU know how you feel xxx

  • I'm actually seriously thinking about dropping down to part time work for the next round - my job is stressful and I just don't think it helps an already pressured situation. I can't imagine what it must be like for you working in an adoption agency. I think fundamentally, we have to put ourselves first so if that means taking time off, just do it xxx

  • Hello :) I came back to work end last week and already I am doing extra hours. The problem is any work whilst you are dealing with this is too much. I think reducing your hours sounds good - by the way the place still functions without you and do you think all the women we work with who go off on maternity leave then reduce to part time look back? You need to keep your focus. I had a crappy day today and keep thinking I should've just stayed off for 3 months! Remember one longggg absence is actually better than several short absences in the eyes of dumb employers. You take care and do what is right for you x

  • Reading your comments makes me feel like I'm not alone. I'm a teacher and have gone through two surgeries taking minimal amounts of time off work (recovery time being mainly in the summer holiday) and then taking only two days for the egg transfer, despite the nurses saying to take the two week wait off and giving me an mc. I just feel too guilty to take that amount of time off with classes being covered. 

    It's actually stopped me going for a second round. Hasn't done me any good, despite minimising time off and continuing to go to work whilst feeling very unwell my contract is coming to an end. 

    Fortunately I have savings and a loving husband so I am going to take some time out now because I can't cope with the conflicting emotions and the management at work just don't care. (They view school as a business, I'm not in the UK.)

    I'm finding it all incredibly difficult, we deserve compassion. 

    Star x

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