Occupational health ivf anxiety and endo - Fertility Network UK

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Occupational health ivf anxiety and endo


I'm due to be doing ivf #5 next year and asked to be referred for occupational health to support my ivf and time off etc. I've gone over the amount of sick time for 12 months due to infertility anxiety as two pregnant girls in the office and tried to make my manager understand. He just refers back to policies,which I get that it is a business and I'm paid to work but he doesn't understand how it good my heart in two when women are moaning about being pregnant when I'm struggling with endo and infertility and ivf.

Everything else in my job is fine. I'm doing well and exceeding what I should be doing, working overtime. I'm really trying to show them I'm a decent person in a shit situation.

Just wanted to know if anyone had any experience with occupational health and what exactly they can do for me? I currently have hypnotherapy, using breathing techniques, stick my head phones in during the painful conversations (although hard cos happening all day everyday). What can I expect from them? I'm terrified they won't help me and will just be there to protect the business to push me out.

22 Replies

I would explain to your situation just to those colleagues if that’s an option, and ask them to avoid those conversations.

I know some people don’t like to talk about infertility, but who cares what they think? It will probably really help if they knew what you were going through and make them more mindful rather than you having to wear headphones.

Soapsuds86 in reply to Orla9298

It was said to do this in a conversation I had with my manager. At the time I was in a wave of grief and hurting so much as soon as I decide to have round if ivf we have preg girl in team making it harder. The conversations felt felt very one sided towards her and lacking in support for myself hence needing the referal. The preg girl is immature but guess if I dont try it won't be done.

It's her sex as an on Monday and I'm already thinking if ways to cope and stay calm and not break down.

From transfer until two weeks after your otd you are protected from discrimination in law as a pregnant woman would be, even if you don’t get pregnant. So if you need to take time off sick then your employer should not be including that time when counting towards any absence triggers. The time you’ve had off for anxiety probably wouldn’t be included but if you’ve had transfers this year then you might have a good case to have some of that time within 4 weeks of a transfer removed from counting towards absence tiggers. This might help if you haven’t seen it already m.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?ar... xx

Thank you so much. Yes it has helped. I lived andbreathed acas during my 4 ivf rounds and had a bad experience with employer, which is probably adding to the anxiety but I'm determined to make a plan to gain control. Now on 5th fresh round so I know what I'm up against now.

Is this new with the two weeks? I thought women were protected during two week wait but not after negative test. I thought the protection finished there? I did not know there was an extra two weeks. I always find balancing work time off the hardest part of it and trying to do what's best for me but keeping my work happy xx

I’m not sure if it’s new, I was surprised when I found it out too. But it’s good to add a bit of weight behind conversations with your employer. Sorry you are facing this xx

I was surprised too - counsellor at our unit told me this just after our first negative. Didn't even know I was classed as pregnant!! So with our subsequent two rounds, I made the most of "being pregnant" until we knew one way of the other!

This is super helpful I had no idea... does this therefore mean if you are covered by pregnancy soapsuds86 you could take the 2 weeks wait off as pregnancy related sickness? Just reading your post and it sounds like this is an unneeded and unhelpful stress with everything else that is going on....

I'm sorry you're in this situation and your boss isn't more understanding. I really hope occupational health can help. Your employer has a duty of care to provide a workplace that doesn't damage your health, physical or mental xx

Soapsuds86 in reply to Kcrochet

I was told I have to think about what message that shows to the pregnant girl. Anxiety just went into overdrive and I ended up off sick for two weeks. A little understanding and it wouldn't have been needed. Ive been crying my heart out in the corridors,running to toilets etc. The time away has helped and learned some coping tools so I'm grateful for that. I understand o can't run away from every pregnant woman but I just want to be vocal about infertility as it gets no air time xx

Kcrochet in reply to Soapsuds86

It sounds like you're being completely marginalised compared with the pregnant women. There is totally scope for their manager or HR to have a gentle conversation with them, it's not like they need to talk about their pregnancy in order to do their job! xx

Totally agree first 2 weeks they can’t touch you, I’ve been through it myself and also managed a girl in my team going through it too, HR confirmed as the egg is implanted back in your effectively pregnant so therefore fall under this bracket until your official test day. You shouldn’t need o/h to confirm that for you x

Soapsuds86 in reply to Gemz29

How do you manage it? Do you set up a plan once get protocol and decide on flex time, days off etc for appointments? Then hol day for egg retrieval and recovery, then the two weeks pregnancy cover starts if embryo back in on day 3 or day 5? So I could use pregnancy co we to be off for that time and use holiday if it fails to grieve?

I find it desperately hard to sit in close perimeter of pregnant girl and use tools to keep my anxiety under control. Im terrified how I'll be on the hormones and coping with ohss (had it every time) which is why I wanted referal but if my work were more understanding I might not needed it. xx

Gemz29 in reply to Soapsuds86

I totally understand, when I’ve had women in my team become pregnant it’s been hard.

Yes all appointments are updated as hospital therefore no issues including egg retrieval, ye I took the long protocol plan so we could plan in expected scan dates. I updated egg retrieval as annual leave and luckily my lady had leave left so booked a week off. However was updated as sick from transfer day and I never managed her on this exactly how you don’t with someone pregnant, your company can’t discriminate you as your technically pregnant xx

Soapsuds86 in reply to Gemz29

Thank you for this. Very appreciated. I've always used annual leave and sickness. This will help me be more prepared for oh and overall ivf. Just trying to take control of the bits I can do. Just so scared of getting really I'll. Guess worst case could do unpaid leave. Not great but if helps me and keeps them off my back.

Thank you xx

Bless you for this sounds really tough situation to be with. Hopefully oh will be helpful and help advise ur manager what they can do to help and adapt things. Does sound abit unfair really. It totally understandable to have time off. Really hope it can help. When I had to go to one a while back they more questioned my managers decision to send than me so I was fine. Best wishes xx

It does worry me I'll go on a good day and just be fine and they'll wonder why I even went. I dont know what they've referred me for though, the endo, anxiety/stress, infertility/ivf. I should check this xx

Hey I’m sorry to read about your struggles ❤️ sounds like you are really up against it with lots of things going on - I understand the points in your title! In my last job my manager was pretty useless, non supportive, totally non sympathetic to my struggles 🤖 I also had time off for operations and anxiety / stress. My manager desperately wanted me to go through occupational health, a bit like yours “to follow policy”. I just wanted to reassure you that for me it was a totally helpful and ok experience. I had a long phone call with a nurse & I explained everything that was going on with me and my treatment. She then wrote a report to send to my line manager, I got to approve it first, with recommendations for what can help me at work. This included wfh. Also it explained in black and white some of the scientific facts to my manager, who I think was a bit of an idiot 😉 I think he literally had no idea about the processes I was going through.

It’s really good that you are doing well in your job 😀 you are right, it’s a shit situation, but it sounds like you are doing everything you can. I am hopeful and feel positive for you that occupational health will help you ☺️ they will be on “your side”. Send me a message if you have any questions. Sending you love and hugs xxx

Soapsuds86 in reply to AS100

Thank you. Yes exactly, I need someone on my side and supporting me in the workplace. I've had a terrible time before which is probably why it's worrying me so much now.

I just hope the nurse understands ivf. In previous experience they didn't which made me look really stupid.

I think it's a great idea for facts and statistics etc to.hive to.them and an idiot guide to ivf and endo. I think I could do that for oh 🙊 I'm bit of a statistic infertility wizard now thanks to Google.

I wrote a long email about it all before but scared I'm seen as someone who is always emotional. Hopefully they'll she'd light xx

Hi Hun, I work for an Occupational health company myself and as we provide this service as a third party to companies, we would never try and force someone back to work for the business’s sake. I would imagine your company have it through a third party company. Our clinicians normally asses the person going through your history with you and they’ll ask you questions your company have asked them to answer. They’ll provide advice and recommendations that may be for things like counselling, CBT and say in their opinion if they feel you are ready to return to work or when you possibly might be. They always tell you exactly what would be going in the report that would be sent to you and your company. I’ve been referred before myself and had the same worries as yourself, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I hope this helps a bit 💕 xX

Soapsuds86 in reply to Clover5

Awesome thank you so much. I think it just scares me as seems more formal. I was the one to actually ask for the oh referal which is suprising but again terrified they'llmanage me on attendance. Even with that I was the one who delayed going to the gp. They kept telling me and then I was signed off so seems odd of I'm then managed on it.

Appointment is now 2nd jan so shall give an update afterwards. Thank you so much xx

Clover5 in reply to Soapsuds86

You’re welcome. I hope they are able to help in some way 💕 xX

These things are really common. It's definitely okay to feel this way. However, the solution to this has to be in talking about it. How about you discuss it with your colleagues? Maybe, they understand and be careful about it? That could help. Wishing you lots of luck and sending you baby dust. Hopefully, it happens for you, as well!

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