Time off work for IVF: Hi all. I was... - Fertility Network UK

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Time off work for IVF

noodlez profile image

Hi all. I was wondering what experiences people have had of getting time off work for IVF treatment?

I've just found out that I will need IVF. It was a bit of a shock, as I had expected to just be given clomid (I have PCOS). I feel very grateful that I'll be getting the treatment very soon, but my work rota is done months in advance. We're also a bit short staffed and on top of that it's peak holiday time. My managers don't have a good reputation for being understanding with sickness leave either.

I'm stressed that I'm going to have trouble getting the time so I haven't plucked up the courage to speak to my manager yet. I don't even know how much time I'll need off for egg retrieval, or how many scans and blood tests I'll need to attend clinic for.

I know I'll probably get more info on dates and times from the clinic at some point, but meanwhile I was wondering if anyone on here could shed some light on this for me?

16 Replies

My first time I was super worried about this, but remember everyone is different plus this has to come first.

I had all my scans in the morning so went in to work afterwards, the larger issue is that appointments are fluid and you can't be sure exactly when you'll be off until quite late. I had a one week off that comprised EC and the transfer, going back about 3 days into the 2ww last time. All in all it was less than I thought, although depending on how physical your job is I know some people choose to have the whole 2ww off.

Find someone you trust to talk about, they have to support you and many places have a policy.

Good luck xx

Hi, I was worried about telling work but it was fine. Like Daisy14 said the scans were in the morning so could work around them, even at short notice. My work give me egg collection and egg transfer as sick days, and then I took some holiday days at short notice after both procedures. Second time round not planning to take anywhere near the same amount of time off, looking back I didn't need it. It depends a bit how you react to the medication and whether you'd need a day or two off after egg collection x

Thanks both!

It's good to know how other people have worked it out. And it sounds like it's going to be a lot more do-able than I thought.

I suppose I've probably caused more stress by not speaking to anyone yet. And like you say, this is far more important than work.

I'll definitely have a quiet word when I get back to work on Friday :)

Thanks! XXX

Hi noodlez, I was really worried about this as I don't like to let anyone down, but a counsellor said to me " how would you feel if you knew a colleague was going through the same thing and wanted time off, what would say?" And I said that I'd understand and she should take the time she needs to which she said "there you go".

And then it clicked. I'm on my 4th week off and my manager and colleagues have been really understanding. I did my blood tests on my TOIL days or after work though as they take no time at all. I have a semi stressful job and friends kept telling me "this is your time and your chance, so take the time off to relax and put yourself in the best position for it." It depends if you can cope with working appts around work and how stressful your job is though.... I'm a worrier and get stressed easily so for me I felt like I needed the time. Everyone's different. You get signed off for a week following egg collection by the surgeon but GPs are pretty good at signing off for IVF and stress related to it... My gp did 2 weeks to start with and said to just call up if i needed an extension and he'd leave a sick note with reception. They don't put exactly what is for either, I just asked for Gynae op...

At the end of the day, you can't help this and if you're signed off, you're signed off! They'll just have to re jig the rota. Put yourself first Hun and good luck!!

Sorry for the massive message 🙄 Lol xxx

noodlez profile image
noodlez in reply to 1Boo

Thanks 1Boo, I hadn't even thought about getting a doctor's note!

I'm the same, I'd hate to let them down and leave them short staffed. If I thought about it though, I'd probably say that all my colleagues would understand and back me up. They'd probably also tell me to let management worry about the rota.

I definitely feel better about this now!

Thanks! xxx

Exactly that, and they will sort it.... Don't worry. I know it's hard but when you start the process you'll thank yourself. I went off from when I started taking my 2nd lot of injections (you start off with one in the am then 2nd injections at pm also) especially cos you don't know how the hormones will affect you 😈 It's a real emotional roller coaster! If you want to get signed off, go to docs and say you're really stressed about the whole thing and work and you think u need to take some time out....🙂

Good luck!! 🍀🍀🍀 xxx

I have done two cycles now and my bosses have been amazing, never question anything, tell me to do what I need to, not worry about work as this is more important etc it has defo made the process easier for me X

I took a week off after egg collection and needed it. I was bloated, emotional and constipated. I plan to do the same after transfer which isn't necessary from a physical point of view but I found it hard psychologically getting back into my job (which is stressful) after collection.

I've told a couple of my managers at work so regularly popping out for scans and tests hasn't been a problem. This is helped by the fact that I work in healthcare and the clinic is only 10mins drive away from work.

Good luck. x

It's good to hear some voices of reason when you're over thinking things!

It's really put things into perspective. I've got enough to worry about without putting work at the top of the list.

Thanks guys, you've really helped 😊 xxx

best to tell your line manager... Mine was very supportive but I work in the NHS which probably helps! I work 4 days so just jiggled my day off to suit appointments. Only had to go more than once a week on one occasion so worked out ok. Had egg collection day as day off but then went off sick as it was a general anaesthetic and couldn't drive, then I got an infection and ended up having 3 weeks off in total! (all sick leave) really depends on your job and sick leave entitlement... All you need to remember is, it is what it is and do what you need to do. You come first, not work.

Hiya noodlez - I was initially only planning on taking a week but my dates changed and the hospital advised two. I was really upset, I felt like I was letting my boss down but actually I'm so glad that I did. It was much easier to deal with everything and not having to worry about work and after the initial awkwardness of coming back I realised that no one actually cares! I got a sicknote for the two weeks and my GP even put 'Hospital Appointments' on there so that no one knew the reason I was off :)

Do what's right for you but I think you'll be grateful for the rest! Good Luck x x x

Hi I work for a large company so I looked on the HR information & found out they allow 12 days paid leave for fertility treatments. If you have an HR department it might be worth checking with them first of the company had anything in place. If not you probably won't need more then 2weeka total off for all appointments & treatments x

So much good advice. No one's really had a bad experience with getting the time off. Fills me with confidence!

Thanks guys - so glad I joined this forum! 😃

Hi, have you spoken to your work yet? Just wondered how you went? I really hope they will be supportive and give you paid sick leave if and when you need it.

I had IVF a few years back and my company were really good. I made sure I had early appointments for bloods and scans (there was a bit where I needed to go every other day for these) so I missed minimal time off work and I just made the hours up. I was then signed off by the fertility clinic for 2 weeks from the day of egg collection (and received sick pay for this time)

However now my company has changed hands. I've been told that they will not give you any paid sick leave for IVF and that I would have to take anytime needed off work as holiday (annual leave)... Which could be tricky as I would need to book at least a week in advance and also there are times in the year, at short notice, when I would not be allowed annual leave! And I'm not sure about all the appointments either, or how this would work?? It's a fairly big company, but my boss actually told me they see IVF as a 'life choice' and not a health issue as such!

I will be keeping my IVF cycle a secret next time and only tell them if they refuse me annual leave when I need it.... And just hope they will let me! I'm really dreading it, but I've saved enough holiday for when this could all happen.

Good luck x

I think it also depends on how many people you want to let in on what you are going through. My job is demanding and stressful in the sense that no one will be able to pick my work up while I am away (which leaves me with so much guilt) plus I did not want to let anyone know what I am going through, the company policy also doesn't support time off for fertility treatments so I simply took my scan days off as my leave. It makes it worse that DH & I are colleagues so I won't even want any colleague knowing about our struggle (we went for all scans together).

I only told my manager that my impromptu leave requests are due to follow ups post surgery and he appears to support me requesting them the day before I need them. It also takes longer for some people, my 1st injection was on 12/05 and my last was on 18/06 (that's over one month of continuous injections and scans) All the best on your journey xxx

Hi all!

Flowerpotts, is exactly the kind of thing I was dreading. I work in the NHS, which should mean they'd be understanding, but at the minute there are a lot of people off sick and on holiday. My teaching session for the drugs is coming up next week and I think my treatment should start around the end of July, which feels very close now, but I still haven't told anyone.

I did have a look at the policy and fertility treatment is supposed to be taken seriously and treated with sensitivity. But it's basically up to the manager's discretion.

So - I decided to wait until my line manager came back from annual leave - which is today! I'm going to put my trust in her and see what happens! Xx

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