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Fertility Network UK
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About to start my first IVF... what to tell my boss?

Hi guys,

I have my IVF nurse consultation next week and all being well will start my first (short) cycle in a few weeks. My clinic is miles from home so between appointments and procedures I’m going to need some time from work. Also I understand I need two days off for egg collection.

I’m just wondering how people have gotten on telling their employer? Do I have to tell them? I’m in a female dominated industry but I do wonder if it would effect my efforts with my career?

Any insights would be lovely.

Thanks x

11 Replies
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Sending positive vibes your way for your first cycle! 🍀💕🤞🏼

In terms of telling your boss, he/she may already know of a Policy in place with regards to ‘leave for fertility appointments’ Find out what your entitled to.

Of course, you might not even have a Policy, but as I work for the NHS. There’s one in place.

I got 7 days a year (37.5 hrs) as I’m full time.

You could always find this first out first and then organise a meeting with your boss?

Ask them to give you your scans/appointments etc as ‘fertility leave’

I’ve found being open an honest with my boss has helped, they’ve been really supportive. I just kept one or two of them (I have one senior sister and 2 junior sisters that know about my appointments) in the know. For me, that’s all that really matters. You owe it to them to make them aware you’re going to be missing on certain days.

Hope that helps? Good luck with everything x

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Most appointments you do get to know a little in advance, we don't have to give much notice to put holidays in, so I just requested holidays and then didn't have any awkward questions. The only time it was a slight issue was when I knew for sure I was going in for ET as it fell when there were a few other people off, so at that time I explained the reason I had to have those specific days off. This is my fourth FET, and I've learned that for me, personally, the less that know the better as I found it too stressful when everyone knew and kept asking questions!

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Hiya I told my boss and I'm glad I did. It just meant I was able to go to appointments without him asking me what it's for. I told my boss that I was very nervous about it and would prefer not to talk about it, so he never asked and I never told him. I'm pretty good with sick leave so I guess he knew I wouldn't take the p1ss. We have a fertility policy in our company but I didn't really look into it, as any time off I took as leave or worked with flexi time. My husbands flexi policy is not as good as mine but he still managed to do the same. Once he told his boss it was for ivf he was very understanding

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I'm in the same situation I start my cycle early next week and was so worried about telling my boss. But I felt like I needed to tell him so I emailed last night as he is on holiday and couldn't face telling him face to face. I have had a reply today and he has wished me luck and success, And to let him know when I've got appointments, I feel so relieved for telling him, instead of keeping it quiet. I was going to keep it quiet but I didn't want to be acting suspicious! Do what you feel is best for you. x

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Good luck xx

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I am in the same boat. I dont want to tell my boss. I am sure she'd be great, but it would just be another person asking questions which I don't want. So I spoke confidential to our HR team. I can get paid time off for hospital appointments and it's up to my boss if she wants to see appointment letters. she hasn't yet, but if she does i am allowed to redact everything except the time and date (as I pointed out even the doctors name with a simple Google search will find out what it's for). That said if it comes to that, I probably will just tell her as it will just look very suspicious giving blacked out letters. But If you don't want to talk to your boss straightaway you might want to speak to HR first. Wishing you best of luck for your treatment.

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Good luck xx

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Hi, I’m on my first cycle now and I had to make the decision to tell work about the treatment as I live almost an hour away and my hospital is 10 mins away from home in the opposite direction. They have been very supportive. Everyone is giving me all support I need and are helping me to be realistic. You wouldn’t believe how nice people can be. I want progression and I work in a male dominated environment- so much as to say that my HR manager has never had a female manager who is of childbearing age. She said she couldn’t remember if the policy way the same for managers as branch assistants. I have 7 days paid leave that I didn’t know about- and wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t of spoken out. Progression is put on hold for me and if the cycle works I’m unsure if I will have many options for returning to work into the position I’m in now with reduced hours. Only time will tell x

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Hi, I told my manager I was having IVF. They were very empathetic and supportive. It made getting out of work for appointments a lot easier, especially as things can change throughout your cycle. Sometimes extra scans are needed and dates for egg collection and embryo transfer can’t be scheduled too far in advance. Hope this helps in your decision making and best of luck with your treatment xx

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Hi Nona, I told my boss about the time I started down regulations, I work for a big company and fertility treatment is pretty much considered the same as pregnancy in terms of medical abscence.

Just yesterday my boss and i had a discussion about my career progression As he thinks I should be looking to a more senior level. He pointed out that I shouldn't let potential maternity delay any thoughts of upping my responsibility. I'm fortunate I have a good boss and fair working culture.

So in your case If it were in any way held against you career-wise then that would be grounds for discrimination.

Also your boss should naturally be concerned for your welfare, but on a professional level should be discrete. You only really need tell her of how much time off you'll need and anything you feel may affect your normal work.

Good luck! I certainly felt a weight off my mind. It did feel odd to tell him and not some of my closest friends.

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your choice to get a baby via IVF or even naturally is none of your employer's concern. I don't understand why would it affect your career. You are a free person and you can choose whatever you want. Just tell the truth to your boss. It is easy because there are more females. I am sure they will understand. I am glad my employer was supportive when I opted for IVF.

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