When is the best time to take off wor... - Fertility Network UK

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When is the best time to take off work during IVF?


We are still in the deciding stages at the moment but it looks likely we will go with IVF.

We visited a clinic local to where we live but over an hour away from where I work and two days a week I work half days so if I go in for morning blood tests I will just get to work and have to turn round and go home again.

From what I can gather there will be a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with blood tests, injections, egg retrieval then implantation (hopefully I've got the right lingo).

From beginning to end when do you think is the best time to take off work? All of it? (and how long would that be?), the retrieval and implantation days only?

I don't want to tell my employer so I would need to work around the appointments without taking the mickey which is why I thought just taking the time off or some of it might be the best way.

I can take 2 weeks - what would you recommend?

How long is a cycle of IVF anyhow. I should've asked at the clinic but I was a little overwhelmed and forgot everything I wanted to ask! Thanks

46 Replies

Hey, I would definitely say if you can to take a couple of days off after egg retrieval, and if you have a steady sit down job you don’t really need the day off after implantation but if you wanted you could. The problem is you can’t actually really plan these things till a few days in advance really as things can change. So say you might not take very well to stimulation they might ask you to stay on the injections another week, also you might have a 3day embryo or a 5 day blastocyst? It all depends on the protocol they put you on too. But definitely a couple of days after egg retrieval. 👍🏻 sorry not very helpful 😬 xx

SVR28 in reply to Melissa11

Thanks - no that is helpful. It kind of gives me an idea that I need to play it by ear - I like planning but if I know this now I'll be better prepared to keep days in reserve and take off closer to the time as and when. Thanks!


My short protocol lasted two weeks (including weekends) from stims to 3-day transfer. I worked until the day of egg retrieval and then my clinic gave me a sick note for two weeks rest. I probably could have managed to get back to work after before this and if it wasn't for the sick note I would have been back the day after transfer. During stims, I did have to go back and forth a couple of days to the hospital. I would say after egg retrieval is when you need it. Is a sick note an option? x

SVR28 in reply to Hidden

No, I don't think so. I don't really want anyone to know what I'm up to. Thank you, that is helpful. So do you know what days in advance they need to take blood or do the stim injections? Sounds like things are short notice but are they like, you get a call and you need to come in tomorrow or is it you need to come in two days time say? Could I prebook those days, then the egg retrieval day do you think? I will definitely take a couple of days after transfer. My job is sedentary but my commute is long and stressful (brings out the worst in me!) Thanks

Hidden in reply to SVR28

I think I might be a bad example as I live in Qatar and they're not the most organised but I did my bloods in the morning before work as lab opened at 7 then went to work and left to do scans at 11 because my injections were at 1 and scan had to be before. Then after the hospital, I went back to work and did injections in the loo! I did that every on 5 days of the stims, it started out as every other day and then became every day and it was only feasible as I worked 15 mins away from the hospital.

The problem is you don't know how long you will be on the stims, I did 9 days and then trigger after which its 36 hours until collection but sometimes you need more stims and you don't know that until you've started. I think depending on how many days if you can take time so you're off from ER until after transfer it would be good. I did a 3day transfer, most people do a 5 so it's a little harder to manage but I was sorest after the egg collection.

I would guess in the UK there's a schedule of when you need to go for bloods and scans-at the end it was my doctor whatsapping me telling me to come in 30 mins for a quick scan so I had no choice but to tell my manager what was happening. I would try and ask the clinic for an estimate on times and then buffer yourself.

Sorry if its not too helpful x

Hi SVR28

I had my cycle abroad so booked my stay for 9 days, what I thought it would be more than enough.

As Melissa said things not always go to plan during IVF and for us that made us having to book 5 more days of emergency annual leave. Both our employers don’t know we are going through IVF, we had to make up excuses 😓

What caused delays: My period is very regular but decided to start 3 days later; As I usually ovulate on my own on day 11 of my cycle I assumed it would be similar during my IVF cycle, but it wasn’t and my eggs were only big enough for collection on day 15.

What I am trying to tell you here is that unless your employer is flexible on you changing dates that you have to take off last minute, or unless you want to share your plans with them, it would be safer to book some time off. You will only know exactly which day you’ll need off nearer the time as it depends on the beginning of your period.

I agree that the best time to book time off is from egg collection maybe till the transfer.

Personally I had very mild pain after the collection but some ladies are in severe pain and discomfort for days so you may want to consider worst case scenatium here

Hope it helps 😊

SVR28 in reply to CatDV

Thank you that is helpful advice - my cycle is also very regular and I ovulate on my own. I think my bosses are Ok with me changing days off at fairly short notice. I just don't know how to broach the subject with my bosses. When people are trying naturally for a baby they don't go announcing to the boss - "My OH and I are having sex this evening because we are trying for a baby!" So I feel weird telling them about IVF. Maybe it's just me!

CatDV in reply to SVR28

It’s not just you. You are very right, we totally deserve privacy in this matter.

I haven’t told anyone and don’t intend too, mainly work. I might be wrong but My employer tried to reduce my hours after my wedding last year and gave me a very silly reason. I suspected they assumed I would get pregnant soon after and were trying to start giving my hours to someone else 😳

I managed to keep my hours but will make sure that they don’t have a clue about me being trying for a baby.

londonrc in reply to SVR28

I was exactly the same as you! Why do you have to tell your boss when it’s so personal . As you said other people don’t say ‘ I can’t come in as I’m ovulating and need to have sex with my husband!’ If it makes it less stressful for you then tell your boss as you don’t need any added stress- but if you don’t think it will make a difference then don’t - I just felt like I haven’t even told my friends and family so I shouldn’t have to tell him. The hardest thing is going for scans every couple of days when you get near transfer as if your clinic is near work and you can get a morning apt you could just go in late- so if you can manage that without saying anything making excuses to drop off your son or something - then when the transfer comes just say you or your son isn’t well - or I just said my dad had had a fall and I needed to help him out for a few days at short notice as I didn’t want to tell anyone at work!

Hi there, I suggest that you definitely take time off a few days after your egg collection and, obviously, on the day of your embryo transfer. I had 4 scans on the long protocol so you would need to factor in the time for those - I think it's best to check with your hospital/clinic whether they offer early morning/late afternoon or evening appointments so you can make it work around your work schedule. It is, however, important you don't stress unnecessarily during this time so if you can take a day or so of annual leave here and there, then do so. I also think that, whilst you may not wish to disclose your fertility issues to your employer, it may not be a bad idea to talk to your HR Manager in confidence - your employer may have a policy about paid time off for fertility treatment (as does mine) which is most helpful. Alternatively, check if you can make up time and then take toil. Good luck with it all!

SVR28 in reply to Esme78

Thank you - that is very interesting. One of my bosses is Director of HR! It's odd but I never thought I would worry about telling my employer I was trying for a baby but now I find myself doing just that.

Ask your clinic for an example treatment plan on what protocol they are going to suggest for you. so that you have a better idea on what you’ll need to go for and when.

I asked for all early/late appointments for the scans and from egg collection, I took the 2 weeks off which took me normally to just after test day.

You could always say you’ve got a dr appointment on one day...does your work allow you to work from home?

SVR28 in reply to Hollibob

Thanks - that is a good idea, I will ask for one of those. I didn't realise there were different treatment "plans". The Doc did say it would be tailored to me and my cycle when things happen.

My job is not really a work at home job, sadly.

I took time off for the follicle scan, the egg collection (tomorrow) and the day after. I will also take off a day for transfer and then, I think that’s pretty much it xx

SVR28 in reply to AJJ123

Thank you - that gives me a good time frame for the most days to take off. Wasn't sure about the blood test and stim injections. How many blood tests do you have to get done or do they vary person to person?

AJJ123 in reply to SVR28

I just went to my GP and had the blood tests done there, took an hour in my lunch break. The only blood test the clinic did was my amh which was done during the consultation xx

Just to add, I didn’t do stims so you may need extra scans.

SVR28 in reply to AJJ123

That is good to know - thanks!

I’ve only done short protocol cycles. I did stims for 12 days this time. After day 5 of injections I was scanned/had bloods every other day. Trigger was 2 days before egg collection and then 5 days later I had transfer. That’s at least 3 weeks from start to finish (not including the tww) xx

SVR28 in reply to Tugsgirl

Oh Wow - thanks. Ok sounds like it might be worth taking off all that time but maybe get into work between egg collection and transfer then a day off after transfer possibly.

My cycles took 2 weeks. But appointments took very long. And cropped up every other day. I was there a lot! Sometimes even the next day, before egg collections.

SVR28 in reply to Minchoo

Thank you - that's what I'm worried about. Work is pretty easy going but coming in late every other day might start to annoy them. Hmm, I think I probably need to have another chat with the clinic. Maybe I can split the days off.


I really think it depends on how your follicles development. I only needed one blood test and that was taken at the initial consultation. The two and throwing was with the scans I found. I had 8am appts so I could get to work afterwards and personally I wouldn’t want all the time off- it’s boring and does your head in, you just end up looking at forums and stressing out! I had four scans in about one and a half weeks. But you don’t know when they will be till you go for one and they see how they are growing.

I had one day off and that was for egg collection. Then you have to wait 2 weeks after that till you do your pregnancy test and then if you get a positive you then have to wait 3 weeks till you go in for a scan. You could end Up taking off 7 weeks!!

SVR28 in reply to Hidden

Thanks - yes 7 weeks would be a bit of a stretch! I start work at 8am so I might have to get creative for those days or maybe just take off the scan days after the initial one tells you where you are. Sounds like I'll only know once the process gets started - thanks again.

Can you say you have some doctors appointments to cover a couple of the scans then take off time from estimated egg collection onwards? Time off after egg collection is important.

I didn’t tell work the first time, I was lucky being able to hide it with previous health issue excuses and a well timed bank holiday! Second time (embryo transfer today), I told my boss - his brother had done it and he was as supportive as he could have been. I work 4 day weeks so split my days off into two half days and then only managed to take 2 days holiday to cover the rest of it - I’ve kept the bulk of my holiday for a holiday after test results 😁

SVR28 in reply to Olivia80

Thanks - yes, we sound similar. I have neck and back problems and have to rely on appointments coming available often at short notice to get these sorted so I could use this as an excuse. Looks like the consensus is definitely days off after egg collection and possibly one or two after transfer.

One thing is to plan around the apps but another is how will you actually feel about the process. I thought I was doing fine until now-4 weeks before the transfer I had a total melt down and went to GP who immediately put me on sick leave. Its very stressful process and if your work is demanding then smth needs to go. You may need the time off just to prepare yourself. I thought I was doing fine until it hit me so my advice - talk to HR if you can, read your policies for medical leave, don't overwhelm yourself with work around this time as hormones and stress may drive you crazy!

SVR28 in reply to Lilly2607

That is a good point and you have raised another angle to all this. I'm a stressy person by nature anyhow and if hormones are being stimulated I will probably be a delight to be around ;-) Thanks, something I will definitely think about.

My Boss is the Director of HR - she is lovely but I just I can't speak to her about this - my issue not hers. Thanks for the advice.

I was lucky with work who let me go to appointments whenever I wanted. I did take 2 weeks off after egg collection which also covered them putting our wee egg back in. I'm so happy I did that. It can be hard going and quite painful for some. Plus it's good to rest up after it all. Good luck x

SVR28 in reply to Lynn31181

Thank you - yes, that seems to be the general consensus. I'll just need to figure out the blood test bits. Not sure about the injections - the Doc said I could do these at home or I could come and get them done at the clinic.

I needed a week off after egg collection. Then you may as well extend it to a couple of days after egg transfer i think. Best of luck

SVR28 in reply to drinathan

Ok, thanks. I hadn't realised they were fairly close together - make sense. Best of luck to you too - scary and exciting all at the same time!

I had a scan on day 8 & 10 of stims both of which were work days, I had early appointments and made the time up.

For egg collection I had a week off but I didn't need it due to egg collection, I would say 2 or 3 days would have been fine having said that, I had injured my back a few days before egg collection so the week off was needed in the end.

For transfer, I only had transfer day off and now I regret that, for any future cycle/s I will be taking the 2 weeks off, more for my peace of mind as I could not concentrate.

Wishing you lots of luck. xx

SVR28 in reply to genten

Thanks very much - that is helpful and gives me a good idea how to split my days off. Good luck and thank you!

Definitely after egg collection! Good luck xx

Hello, I told my manager I had a hospital procedure coming up so not to be surprised if I needed to take time off but that I was managing my workload and diary accordingly so nothing got dropped if I needed time off. My short protocol lasted 17 days (longer than average I believe). I took day of egg collection off and went in next day. In reality I should have arranged to work from home that day because the news of my egg not fertilising broke me but managed to get through my work day. My husband and I then took the next day off to spend some time together & discuss our options. Next time I’ll take egg transfer plus next day. If we get to transfer I plan to take at least a week off, hoping to get a sick note from my GP. Hope this helps you Xx

jengi in reply to jengi

Btw, I’ve been advised to take 3 days bed rest after transfer. Also remember that implantation happens about 7 days after fertilisation so important to take time then too, to keep stress free, calm & relaxed.

SVR28 in reply to jengi

Thanks so much for the reply. It's useful to hear other people's experience when you are just dipping your toes in these waters. Also good to know we're not alone. Best wishes x

Jo_Se in reply to SVR28

I have been told the same. Good luck x

The clinic I use signs you off work for two weeks starting the day of egg collection. Sometimes I have utilised the full two weeks sometimes not. I would say take a few days off for egg collection. Depending on your job and the ability to take private phone calls I would consider taking off the week. I work in a setting that makes it difficult to take phonecalls at all and you will get a phone call the day after collection (day 1), on day 3 and day 5. This can be quite emotional depending on the outcome as it’s to inform you how many eggs fertilised and then how they progress into day 3 and 5 to decide on a day 3 or 5 transfer. It’s a personal choice but I found I couldn’t have concentrated on work or dealt with he aftermath of those phonecalls without the privacy of home. For frozen transfers I have just taken the day of the transfer off sometimes the day after too. Wishing you the best of luck xxx

SVR28 in reply to besgstan

Thank you - that is helpful to know the breakdown of calls and contact you get - I have my own office so fortunate in that respect but have a glass wall between myself and someone who does not deal well with emotional people at all!

I can't believe how supportive and lovely everyone is on here. Best wishes to you to x

besgstan in reply to SVR28

It is a really helpful forum as ivf can be such as isolating experience. The phonecalls tend to happen in the morning but nonetheless it still drags. Generally the call is just for information only but there can sometimes be a decision involved it all depends on the how the embryos develop. Also thinking ahead to after transfer that can vary from clinic to clinic. Some have you do a urine pregnancy test at home on a given date, others do a blood test 14 days after egg collection factoring in on what day the embryo was transferred. Xx

I was also asking a lot about this before I went through it. I’m short protocol. So went in for blood/scan day 2 of period and every other day for 2 weeks. Managed to get the first appt of the day at 8.30 and make it into work an hour late and nobody noticed!

After egg retrieval I had 1 day off and 1 day work from home as felt very sore. Then egg collection was Saturday which was lucky. I took Monday as hols and tues work from home.

It’s all very unpredictable. I told my control freak slave driver boss and she was okay. It helped and I asked her to keep it private.

I wanted to keep working as it took my mind away from stressing about what’s happening. I’m currently in my 2ww. After so much going on every day it and constant phone calls, updates, it now feels very lonely and the wait is killing me!

Good luck to you!!!!

SVR28 in reply to Capps8

Thanks for your reply. May I ask what is a short protocol and a long protocol? I've not heard these terms before. I don't think the Doc at the clinic mentioned these terms but then I was rather overwhelmed by all the info so could easily have missed them :-/

Capps8 - praying for you in the 2ww and really, really hope you get good news!

Is this your first round?

Capps8 in reply to SVR28

Hello! Yes first round. All the info is a little overwhelming. Our clinic did an information day (4hours!) with PowerPoint to go through everything in detail which was good.

Long protocol is when you have injections to first switch off your ovulation then you start up. Just longer time doing injections until you have egg transfer. - please somebody correct me if that’s wrong.

As I’m PCOS I knew I’d def be in short protocol so you start stims injections on day 2 of your period and it’s just a bit faster.

So first day of my period was sept 3rd. Egg collection sept 17th and transfer 22nd as we went to 5 day blastocyst. So quite quick! X

SVR28 in reply to Capps8

Thanks for the explanation of the difference between them. That sounds good going time wise. I guess I won't really know what we are until we commit and book with a clinic.

It must be so hard in this waiting phase. Please do let me know how it goes. Wishing you the best outcome x

Capps8 in reply to SVR28

Thank you I will! I kept pushing to know dates as hubby booked himself of to Milan to watch spurs and it completely clashed with egg collection - AND sperm collection! So football had to wait!!! Honestly they only have one job!!!!

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