Work time off and IVF treatment - Fertility Network UK

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Work time off and IVF treatment


Hi everyone,

Just a quick question that is really stressing me out at the moment. Now we have had the pre-treatment tests and everything is on its way to the treatment for IVF I have come to realise how much time I am going have to take either off work or late because of scans and tests etc.

We have kept this to ourselves so far as we didn’t want anyone else knowing. Also I have a major issue with confidentiality with my work especially management. I don’t want the whole office to know our problems.

I was hoping to request morning scans and get work in late and still complete my hours but it looks like this isn’t going to go to plan.

How have others in this situation approached the request for time off whether it be paid or unpaid. Can I somehow explain for medical reasons I need time off but not divulge into great detail?

Any advice would be great, thank you in advance xxx

32 Replies

My advice is to tell as few people as possible and give as little detail as possible. If you need to take time off you might need to explain why to your manager but they are bound by confidentiality to keep this quiet if you ask them to. If you don't get any form of fertility leave then take annual leave and don't tell anyone, it just adds to the pressure and you don't need it!

Best of luck 😁👍🍀

Babyblues1 in reply to Kat9lives

My manager does not keep anything to himself. I will have to try the annual leave then. Thank you for your advice x

Noobs in reply to Babyblues1

That’s bloody awful. Is there not anyone above him or HR as another member suggested?x

Babyblues1 in reply to Noobs

I think I will have to go higher. It’s awful. We hear so many confidential things in our office that I wouldn’t dream of going in and telling him as I know it would be round the office in a short time.

Me and my partner decided to keep this to ourselves as it has been upsetting enough finding out my partner had zero sperm count and we couldn’t try for a baby naturally. The last thing I want is work knowing my business and making it worse.

I’m sure it will all be ok and go to plan xx

It depends on what protocol your on. Short, you’ll need more scans and time off in quicker succession but the long one will see your appointments further apart. I was super lucky as my work were great and I was able to work from home on scan days.

Babyblues1 in reply to Noobs

Long we have been told but even then they have given a window of 5 days when I go for one of the scans and then the week before treatment I could go for scans daily while they check the follicles.

I find I’m stressing as I can’t even book the time off in advance as there are no set dates as of yet.

Do they give you the actual dates closer to the time?

Thank you for your help xx

Noobs in reply to Babyblues1

Aw I know it’s so hard to plan. I was on long also but I was a scan every few days. Usually egg collection and transfer are in the same week so it be be worth taking time off sick or holidays then. Most workplaces should give you time off for hospital appointments so maybe you tell them it’s ladies problems. Im sorry to hear you can’t tell your work as it’s stressful enough.x

Babyblues1 in reply to Noobs

Yes I will book the annual leave tomorrow for two weeks then cancel if I don’t need it all. Be easier that way. I will request the earliest appointments they have for scans.

Thank you xx

I told my boss prior to starting as did my OH, we had quite a few scans cos I was a slow responder,so it made it easier with work as my boss was very good about it all. However if you feel like you can't trust your boss maybe you could tell your HR manager? And get some advice from them? To be honest tho all my scans were really early in morning, like 7am or 7.30am, I only had a few appointments in afternoon so hopefully your clinic will be the same.Good luck xox

Babyblues1 in reply to jm22

I have a person who I trust at work who knows everything and I am sure she can offer further support with approaching my manager. I just wanted to know how others in the same situation had gotten through this stressful time.

That’s what I was hoping for - really early appointments there would be no questions asked then. I can get back to work before my shift should start.

Thank you for your advice.

Were you successful with your treatment? Xx

jm22 in reply to Babyblues1

Unfortunately mine ended in a chemical,we are waiting for our frozen transfer now, I am planning on taking 3 weeks off after transfer date this time (no matter what happens). When do you think you'll be starting?xo

Babyblues1 in reply to jm22

So sorry to hear that :-(

Yes do take more time to relax and be stress free during this time.

Due my period in a couple of weeks and then I have to wait for Day 21 of cycle for the medication to start so really not that long xx

jm22 in reply to Babyblues1

It will come round in no time. To be honest the whole process has changed me, I used to stress a lot about work, but now it just isn't as important so I will likely take time off sick rather than use up so much of your leave. You really have to do what's right for you.Hope you get some support from work, all the best in your cycle, really hope you get your bfp xo

Babyblues1 in reply to jm22

Thank you for your kind words.

I agree our future is more important than work. I’m sure others in this circumstance would think of their health also.

Will update next week to let you know how I get on xx

Hi, you should get given a plan with estimated dates. Obviously estimated as then can change. So you’ll have an idea but hard to book leave in when you don’t know. What’s your sickness policy like? My work aren’t great but we do get 3hrs off for hospital app so this covers all my scans etc. Once you’ve had transfer you are classed as pregnant until proven otherwise so if you need time off you will fall under your maternity policy. I have told my work and we have an occupational health dept which are helpful. But understand you not wanting people to know. That’s not good that your boss can’t be confidential!! Good luck. Try and not worry. Xx

Babyblues1 in reply to gemmy999

I will have a look at the sickness policy tomorrow in great detail to see where I stand. I know we get 2 hours for hospital appointments but they ask for document proof!

I will try not to worry until time gets closer. Thanks for your help xx

Hi. You have the same rights as a pregnant mom. Ie your employer must allow you time to attend medical apts. IVF falls under the realm of pregnancy. It is a protected characteristic. Your manager can not discriminate you in any way. If you dont want your manager to know then perhaps speak to HR dept in confidence. All you need to tell your manager is that you have several medical apts to attend to and that it is a private matter or something along those lines. Hope this helps. Good luck with your treatment xxx

Babyblues1 in reply to Masha111

Thank you I will seeking further guidance and will probably just say that it is medical appointments and I can not give any further info at this time.

Thanks for you help

Masha111 in reply to Babyblues1

You should not have to take annual leave or make up for any time lost. My manager was happy for me to take annual leave but i asked HR and they confirmed i didnt need to. Apparently my manager wasnt aware of this at the time. So she hasnt questioned me since. Also she is very nosy, although she kept it confidential she kept asking me what stage i was at and questions about the future. I am a private person and i didnt wish to divulge this info but felt obliged to as i thought she would get the hump if i didnt. Im not saying all managers are like this, it just depends what your manager is like. In the 2WW i was anxious and had anxiety and so couldnt face going to work. In the end i got a note from the GP. I am so pleased i did as i was really emotional about the procedure, what the outcome would be etc. In this time i rested plenty and watched box sets and did some light work around the house etc

Babyblues1 in reply to Masha111

Thank you for sharing your experience. I will see how I feel in a couple of weeks and take it from there. I suppose it would be best to speak to HR and find out where I stand with it all.

I am considering taking leave or get a note as my job is highly stressful.

Box sets and tv sounds good to me :-) xx

I always said I had doctors appointments... they don’t need to know what they’re for as that’s private... but if they want to see proof of doctors appointments you could always get this from the clinic and ask for it to be discreet... I don’t think most employers would bother going that far though... good luck xx

Thank you for your help and support. Hopefully all will be ok xx

I know exactly what you mean because a few months back I felt the same. I was dead set against telling Work and I had only been in my job a few months so thought it would look so bad on me telling them that I planned to get pregnant anyway. Once I got my treatment plan for ivf there was no way I would be able to do it without telling Work. I only told my manager (and eventually one of the girls on my team). No one else in the office knows and it has been treated as strictly confidential. I feel better I told them because there was no other way I could explain all the time off. With them knowing it definitely took some stress off but I have had to take all my time off as either holiday/Make time up etc.

My mind set has always been that I was going to do this and put myself first no matter how much Work dislike the time off.

I am putting myself first and you 100% should do.

I would suggest just telling your manager. Mine didn’t say much really and that get

To me at first. It was like all they care about is the time off etc but you know what I don’t care because this is the most important thing to me.

Wishing you lots of luck. Keep us posted xx

Yes I agree with you. This is all about me and I’m sure work can cope without me for a short time while I sort out something than can change the rest of my life.

I will keep everyone posted. I appreciate everyone’s support and guidance. Good luck to you all too xx

Hi there. It’s the worst when you have nosey Parker’s at work isn’t it. Some clinics sign you off for two weeks from egg collection onwards. Naively at first I thought this was a bit much but a week off for the day 1 and 3 phonecalls really helped. And as other have said, some clinics can accommodate with early morning scans on some cases. I work on a school so can’t book annual leave but if I was in another job I would have probably opted for that to take the pressure off xx

Babyblues1 in reply to besgstan

Yes very nosey people!

I think I do need to take some time I will be looking at all options tomorrow then approaching management or HR in the next week.

I do need to take time off to relax by the sounds of it xx

besgstan in reply to Babyblues1

I agree with you totally and think it also depends on the sort of colleagues you work with. Unfortunately I found being someone who was hardly ever ill was my downfall... when I did need time off it drew an unwanted spotlight of attention and prying questions. Not all genuine concern. For the first time in 16 years I felt anxious going to work which is a real shame. I think you have to consider both what your entitled to, and the dynamics of where you work to choose a balance that suits you at a time in your life where you feel most vulnerable. Wishing you the best of luck xx I told one trusted colleague who still despite not working with her anymore has proven to be a great support xx

Babyblues1 in reply to besgstan

Thank you for your advice. Same here with the downfall of never being off.

Thank you very much for the luck and I will keep updating throughout xx

Hi Babyblues, I didn't take any time off. I booked all my appointments at 9AM and they were pretty quick, only when I had to buy some medications at the hospital did I need a bit longer. I told my manager I was having some allergy tests done that week that required me going to the hospital on Mon, Weds and Fri on that specific week, and he was fine with that excuse ;)

Babyblues1 in reply to SConnor

I like that excuse :-) That would also work!

I am going to request early appointments too x

I didn’t see any other option but to tell my boss the truth. There are just too many appointments involved and I’m rubbish at making stuff up. And although he doesn’t have kids by choice, he was very supportive and recognised that this is my life which is a bigger priority than work.

I understand that not everyone has got such a nice boss. I did my scans in the mornings or lunchtime but nobody really watches me at work and I have quite a lot of flexibility but I’m always very honest with the management. I took 1 day off sick for the EC, working from home until transfer, then taking a week of leave and continue working from home until test day.

You could say that it is female stuff and that should discourage people from asking further questions. It might be hard to get all scans in the morning if your treatment is the NHS, easier if it’s via private clinic. Also, I would refrain from telling colleagues unless you are very friendly with someone. The less people at work know, the better. Otherwise, if it doesn’t work you would have to tell each of these people about it. I made that mistake last time so this time keeping it much more private. Good luck with your cycle xx

Hi Hon, just go to your GP and get a sickness note for atleast a month if you can. It will relieve you from the work stress and in a way you can relax and focus on your treatment.

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