Time off for IVF - Advice Needed!!!!

Were due to start our first round of IVF later this month. I have quite a hefty commute I live in Wolverhampton but work in Manchester and will be undergoing treatment at Birmingham Women's Hospital and at this moment in time I cant see how I'm going to juggle work and treatment at the same time???? I have quite an active job as I work in a conference centre, I'm not mainly desk based and some days I can be on my feet quite a lot serving refreshments and moving furniture combined with a 90 minute journey each way (traffic depending) so much so some days I come home feeling absolutely shattered! I've been quite open with one of my colleagues and she said she will cover me for whatever I need - she's going to imagine I'm not going to be in work for the duration of my treatment but I still need to have the conversation with my manager which I'm a little anxious about as I don't know how she will react (she does know I've been having fertility tests etc). In my head and heart I've come to the decision that I'd rather be off work for the duration of the treatment as I don't know how I'm going to feel with the medication, the days when I do have appointments its going to be too much for me to drive from Wolverhampton to Birmingham and then on to Manchester, if there's an accident on the motorway that'll just add to my stress of thinking I need to get to work and also I'll be knackered!

My question is do you think I'm being unreasonable in wanting to potentially take 4-6 weeks off work for treatment? is this excessive? any advice would be much appreciated xxxx ps I work in the NHS!

27 Replies

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  • Hiya. My work state that until I have the embryo transfer it is considered elective treatment and there will not grant time off. I also work on HR so would advise checking your maternity policy as I know some company's cover ivf leave. You need to speak with your manager as it may be short notice. Where u thinking paid or unpaid? Do you have holiday you can take? X

  • I've got some holidays left but not enough to cover a few weeks I have already been using holidays for appointments etc we do have a special leave policy which covers IVF and know I need to discuss with my manager may see if I can work from home some days to try and eliminate the travelling x

  • What does your policy state on ivf?

  • Basically that's it's down to the discretion of your manager and how the leave will affect the service of the department - I've covered this though already but it may involve a mixture of paid, unpaid and annual leave which I don't mind x

  • That's good then. If u can do it go ahead. U don't want to look back and think what if. Hopefully u will only have to look forward. X

  • I ended up having a few weeks off for treatment as found the stress and emotional impact of treatment made it too hard to manage work. I had a really supportive gp who signed me off sick. If you are with nhs, I know the sickness policy is good. Do what feels right for you xx

  • Thanks for the reply Sweet as well as the sickness policy we have got a special leave policy which does cover ivf it's more because I love so far away feel like the travelling is gonna stress me out x

  • You will probably only need to take time off for scans until the day of EC, at that point a lot of people like to take a couple of weeks off. Why don't you wait and see if tiredness affects you once you start taking the drugs, and request full days off for when you have scans, which will give you extra chance to rest as scans don't take very long. Only thing is, everything can be quite short notice depending on your response to the drugs so you need to know your work can cover you at relatively short notice (e.g. The day before).

    I work in education and my school policy is five days paid leave per year for fertility treatment. Further unpaid leave is at the discretion of my boss.

  • Ps once you've had et you won't be able to move furniture. My understanding is that you're legally protected for that though, as you count as pregnant after ET and your workplace has to treat you as such.

  • Thanks for the reply sweet I've organised cover for work in case I am off (I'm the manager of my department) just need to have the official conversation with my manager re leave etc x

  • As others have said i think it all comes down to personal choice, definitely around and after EC I would have time booked off. I understand about your troubles with commuting though and if your work allow the flexibility maybe you could just wait and see how you feel. I didn't find the tiredness to bad my last 3 cycles but this time it's killing me and am finding myself having afternoon naps. I don't think anyone can say your being unreasonable after all you have to do what feels right for you xx

  • It's so difficult as it's out of our control really. My clinic gave us an example of what our treatment plan could look like and then gave another one when it was confirmed to start. Found it quite useful when planning ahead.

    Our clinic were helpful in trying to book us the earliest or latest appointments possible so that we could go before or at the end of work.

    Maybe if they can do something like that for you, you could take half a day off work for the appointment/travelling and work from home for the rest?

    I took the time off from collection to just after test day.

    I only told my managers (all male) just incase I needed to juggle my leave around/last minute requests.

    It was very handy that one of them mentioned his twin had had ivf and knew that you are meant to be as stress free as possible and that they would bear that in mind and go to my equal level colleagues instead of going to the reliable/get stuff sorted employee!!

  • I've already discussed with my boss the possibility of taking up to 6wks unpaid leave when I have treatment as, like you, I have a very busy job where things can't be changed last minute so I didn't want the stress (for me & my work) of trying to work out how I can get time for appointments & changing things round if appointments move etc. I also can't answer the phone in work so days where Im wziting for calls from the clinic would be stressful in themselves. I know I'm lucky to be able to afford to take the time as unpaid leave & just feel it will be less stressful all round. Luckily work have someone who can cover me & I thought by making sure she can cover for up to 6wks gives a bit of leeway in case dates change a bit.

    But it'll be my first round of treatment so I may find Ive taken far too much time off unnecessarily...we'll see! Xx

  • Hi Shanks....I also work in the NHS and for my first round I took the 5 days special leave stated in the policy starting from the first injection then 5 weeks sick as I was unsure what I would feel like and I was nervous as hell. The 2nd time I just took a few days off after the transfer and didn't bother too much but I work at a desk and so it was easy for me. But I think as I knew what to expect the 2nd time round I didn't worry as much. I'll do the same next time - I like to try and continue as normal so as not to stress myself out with worry. Do what's best for you, working in the NHS gives you much more leeway as any ivf/pregnancy related sickness doesn't trigger for the disciplinary for time off. Good luck and hopefully your work support you 🎀 xx

  • Thanks for your reply sweet yes defiantly working in the NHS does make it a little easier in terms of sick leave etc what to give this our best shot as it's our only NHS funded round! I've been really stressed lately anyways as I lost my dad before Christmas and really feel like I need some time out so I can just focus on this hopefully when I see my manager tomorrow she'll be understanding x

  • Hi, I have taken it all off sick leave. Just thought what's the point going through all this and paying so much to potentially sabotage it with prioritising work. If you've got the option I would look after you. I found I was shattered after a while on buserilin and then after a while on menopur I got really uncomfortable and after one of my scans had an emotional meltdown. I felt uncomfortable after egg collection and tired. And tired again after transfer avdcin two week wait. I know lots and lots of women go to work but I don't know how they do! Are you able to play it by ear or are you best to take a definitive period off?

  • Thanks for you reply sweet I can play it by ear as I've organised cover anyway but I think for my own sanity I'd rather just be off I was reading the sick policy today and noticed the 4 weeks and if push comes to shove I'll just do that x

  • Oh one thing to bear in mind if you're NHS, it's better to have a period of long term sick (4 weeks minimum I think?) rather than multiples of short term which then trigger the different stages of sickness absence management. Xx

  • Hi I have taken 4weeks unpaid leave. Towards end of injections i def needed and took awhile to recover from egg collection. Your healths more important. This is my one and only go at it so i wanted to take it easy.

  • Thank you girls for all your replies it means a lot hopefully I can get this sorted with my manager tomorrow xxxx

  • Just do what is right for you. I went into work until mid way through stimulation but I wasn't seeing any patients and was taking full days off for scans. If you have the option to be off I would go with it. Good luck. Xx

  • For me 4 to 6 weeks off would be excessive. I travel to client sites in europe and then an in the office and did that all up to EC. Had a day off for EC and ET but worked the rest to take my mind from going crazy. I did stop the travel during stims onwards though but mainly as it was flights.

    for the scans I asked for early appointments and just took shorter lunches as they don't take long at all. The clinic had quite wide opening hours but you could ask yours to be first or last thing if it makes travelling easier for you.

  • Hi I'm a teacher and when I had my icsi treatment I was very lucky to be on my summer holidays so it was def more relazing on one hand. Just to point out tho I didn't have half the scans i was told I would have , I responded quickly to the drugs so I wasn't in the hospital a huge amount. Honestly I don't think you need the whole 4-6 weeks off I would say just take time before and after ec and et xx

  • Also a teacher and tried to time my icsi to summer. It was hard to do this exactly and started before we broke up so had 2 appointments in school time but the rest in the hols which I'm glad I wasn't in school for the rest of

  • Hello @shanks, I know you've had lots of comments, but I thought I'll add my thoughts to! In an ideal world and work permitting, I'd take the whole time off if you can. It's such an emotionally and physically draining process, with lots of scan appts, injections, pills to pop, etc! I also have a long commute and the thought of being stuck on a train when I was supposed to be doing my injections freaked me out!

    You could do this via special or unpaid leave. Or you could get signed off by your GP - that's what I did. Some acupuncturists and people like that can also sign you off (I'd recommend that to!). I was actually off for 3 months on my second round, as I didn't recover very quickly between collection and transfer. So that was a god send as I could rest a lot and get the drugs out of my system. I certainly found it more draining the second time around.

    I hope that helps and best of luck. Don't feel guilty and be kind to yourself - 6 weeks out of your whole working career is nothing!

    Natalie x

  • Thank you sweet for your reply it's really reassuring to hear what you said it's the commute more than anything that's bothering me last thing I want is to be stuck on motorway when I feel like crap and need to make an appointment or injection x

  • Hi Everyone so its taken me 2 days to get sorted but my manager has basically said take off whatever time I need and if it was her she'd just get a sick note. She's told me not to worry about it. I've been upfront and said I may need around 4 weeks off (just to cover myself). I even tried to speak to HR about it and they didn't really have an answer for me but at least I'm now sorted. Thank you all for your comments xxxx

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