Working whilst going through IVF, is it possible?!

Hi ladies, we have only just been referred to the IVF clinic so I know I will have a lot to learn in the coming months! I know we will have to wait until we have seen the consultants for further information etc but one thing I am impatient to know about is, is it likely I can get through the process without work finding out!? Is it a case of a few appointments in the run up and then needing a couple of weeks off whilst you go through the more invasive bits or is it just lots and lots of appointments or is it different for everyone? I really have no clue what to expect, so don't know what to do about holding back on annual leave so that I can use it for the IVF, any information would be gratefully received x x x

11 Replies

  • Hi

    I found that I had to tell my boss really as I was going for scans every few days so would be missing for a few hours and didn't want to use holiday etc. There is also a new rule that we have to show proof of appointments which I wouldn't have.

    I felt much less stressed when I told them although I really didn't want them to know coz I didn't want all the questions and expectations.

    I had scans around every 3-4 days (I can't quite remember) then you have egg collection where it's nice to have a few days off after and the the transfer which for me was on the weekend but this time I'll have a few days off.

    I suppose you could do it without anyone knowing but I just felt too stressed about it and I work 37 hours so couldn't really move my day around without people noticing too much!

    Good luck xx

  • I definitely found it better to tell my boss, as has my husband, especially this week when we have been trying to get time off for embryo transfer which is very short notice... found out today it's Monday but won't know what time on Monday until Saturday morning...

    If you trust your boss, it just takes away a level of stress. But I understand some people are worried about their boss being indiscreet or about being discriminated against. It also depends how flexible your work are about leave... it's not exact science what date your egg collection will be and you will need 24hours off after that because it is done under sedation... I only had two days notice on both rounds, though I knew approximately what week it would be.

    How much stress keeping it secret will cause depends to some extent how far you have to travel to get to your clinic... a long travel time obviously means you'll need more time off.

    After egg transfer, you legally count as pregnant during your two week wait and for the two weeks after a negative test so you are protected in some ways as long as you tell your employer.

  • Hey,

    I would say tell your direct manager and ask them not to tell anyone else if you want to keep it private. If you are having a short protocol then you might be in hospital 2 or 3 times a week in the days before egg collection, (for scans and blood tests) so you will probably need to let your manager know. Also because doctors can't always tell how you will respond to drugs, they can't completely tell for sure when you will have egg collection, so you will need to take the whole day off for that and sometimes it can be a bit last minute. I was told I would have egg collection on Friday and ended up having it earlier on the Monday and it is a procedure that can be exhausting and painful, so I needed to take time off work. I ended up taking 3 days off as sick days and working for two days from home (I was in bed with a laptop!). My embryo transfer was on a Saturday, so I told no one about that. I was back at work for the 2 week wait, but I must admit it was hard to stay focused and I felt physically and emotionally unwell. No one at work seemed to notice though....

    I used annual leave sometimes for scans (1/2 days etc), but I also called in sick other times. I was lucky that my boss was understanding, but to be honest, workplaces should be understanding. This is your health and it needs to be a priority. You have the right to try to have a baby and if medical treatment is needed, then your work need to understand that.

    I manage a small team of people and so I told them as they would need to cover for me sometimes and need to know where I am. They were all very understanding and kind and they helped out with the workload. I did limit who I told because really I wanted it to be a private thing as no one really understands IVF unless they have been through it themselves.

    I hope it all goes well for you! xxx

  • Hi there,

    Before I started treatment I didn't want to tell anyone at my work as we were going through a company restructure. A couple of months before I started I found i was stressing about how I was going to manage the appointments etc without them finding out, more so than the treatment itself!

    Just before xmas I had an internal interview for a new role which everyone thought I would breeze...It took place on the day I had my ivf dates confirmed and for some reason I cracked under the pressure which is not like me....the next day I had a particularly difficult meeting at work (I'm a project manager) and I burst into tears at my desk! My line manager was great and for the first time I started thinking I could confide in him (previous to that I thought he was a bit of a geek that couldnt cope with "women's problems")

    Anyway the long and short of it is, I eventually told him and he was brilliant. Considering he had no clue when we sat down, he said all the right things and from that day it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

    He's no longer my line manager but I still catch up with him every couple of weeks and he asks how it's going. He always says if I do want anyone else at work to know, he doesn't mind having a word on my behalf as he knows how difficult it was for me to tell him.

    Sorry for the long post but I suppose at the end of the day it comes down to personal choice and I think it's luck of the draw whether you have an understanding boss or not...all I would say is that it had a massive positive outcome for me xxx

  • Depends on whether in your job you find it easy to slope off for a few hours or come on late for a few hours. I worked from home on most scan days and took a day off for EC and ET and that was it. My scans were at 9am so I just found excuses for coming in late for 3 days.

    Didn't want to tell my boss as he's a bit of a twit and couldn't rely on him being confidential.

  • I think it depends on your clinic. Ours was 10 mins away from my work and they booked every scan for before or after work hours or at lunch time and I took an extended break. So I didn't have to take any holiday at all and my work didn't know. For egg collection I was lucky it fell on a Saturday so I recovered on Sunday and was in work on Monday. Then transfer was done in my lunch break and I was back at my desk 20 mins after. I preferred to do that than let work know.

    If your clinic is further away or not so flexible it would be sensible to save as much annual leave as you can just in case. But are you usually able to use your annual leave at short notice? As Lizzie said you don't get much notice and if my collection had been midweek my work would have been a pain about a last minute day off and I'd have had to tell them (or make up some other excuse).

  • Think it is really dependent on your manager and your work environment but you have a right to time off for health appointments and you need to give it the best chance of working so if you can remove any stress then do!

    I was very nervous about telling my new boss a few months ago as it was the first time I'd had a male boss in a while and he couldn't have been more understanding - much better than my last female boss! - turned out him and his wife had been through IVF several times and he knew more than I did about the dates and jargon - was such a relief! I would think about sharing it with just 1 or a couple of people and ask them not to tell anyone - wishing you all the very best on your journey xxx

  • Thank you ladies for all your advice, my boss is generally not very understanding, she has never been child orientated and went through early menopause in her mid 40's, I work in an office of 7 women and not one of us have children for one reason or another, so there's no understanding there what so ever! Do you think 2 weeks leave would cover scans, EC and ET? I know everyone is different, but just trying to gauge what hold to hold back x x x

  • Hi

    I don't think two weeks would cover it. My first scan was 1st November with three after that then EC on the 14th Nov and the ET 19th Nov. I think it all depends how you well your body works on the meds as well it could be a little longer xx

  • Hi. Everyone is different and it will depend how flexible your job is.

    I was on a short protocol (was started & finished in 2 weeks) and managed to have all my scans before work and the only day I had off was for EC. I just went in a bit late on ET day!

    You just have to do what works best for you. I personally was glad to be at work to take my mind off it as it's an emotional rollercoaster.

    Good luck! x 🍀

  • I have done 3 rounds 2 I took the whole time off and my last one (successful) I worked though I told my boss and was able to nip out for appointments and wet back to work the day after EC. I had 2 days off after transfer then worked through tww. I actually found this last round that work was a welcome distraction... I enjoyed not thinking about tww so much. I think it depends on where you work if your lifting heavy things etc and just in personal preference. I do think letting a boss know makes it less stressful for you! Good luck xx

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