Balancing Work and IVF Treatment
Really, Whatever works for you.
There is no perfect formula and whatever works for you is best. While many women work full-;me as they undertake IVF treatment, some choose to work part-;me and others do not work at all. The most important thing is to ﬁnd the balance that best suits you. The key is working out what you (and your support network) can reasonably manage.
Can you ﬁt it all in?
Your IVF treatment regime requires a considerable time commitment from you. Now is probably not the ideal time for taking on extra work, responsibilities or study. Perhaps re-examine the division of household chores. Maybe you need extra help at this time?
Put yourself first
Whether you decide to continue working at full time, or whether you decide to reduce hours or take time out, the most important thing is to prioritise yourself. People often attempt to put work before their own needs and this can lead to over-stretching, stress and in some cases, exhaustion. You need to stay healthy and ﬁt so you can continue with treatment and perform well in your job. It’s all about balance. Aim to have some fun. Ensure you eat well, sleep, exercise, allow down-;me with your friends and family, and of course your partner. Resolve to schedule time for conversations with our Patient Support Team, as well as, your medical appointments and other complementary therapies. Looking after yourself will help you function more eﬀectively in all aspects of your life.
To tell or not to tell
This is a very individual decision for which you will need to carefully weigh up the pros and cons. Your choice will depend on your own personality, the nature of your relationships at work and how you feel you can deal with people on a daily basis. Some people prefer not to disclose any information at all in their workplace. Others feel the pressure of keeping their treatment a secret and tell their manager only. Perhaps you will also choose to share news of your treatment with a few close colleagues. Possibly you’ll feel like telling the world. Be very careful. Ask yourself: Can I trust my boss or colleagues to keep this information conﬁdential? Will it be easier for me if they know about my situation? Or will it be harder? Being open may bring you added emotional support. However, you can’t be sure how others will respond. If you are unsure about telling your colleagues, perhaps test the waters ﬁrst. Impart a small amount of information and gauge how they respond and how you feel. If it’s positive, you can choose to tell more. If not, you have your answer.
If you do decide to be open at work, you will likely be ﬁelding all sorts of questions about the more detailed aspects of IVF. Many people’s knowledge of IVF is limited to what they have learned from media reports. Be clear that your personal information is conﬁdential. Take the opportunity to let people know how you would prefer them to treat you. They may be very uncomfortable about approaching the subject of your IVF treatment. Do you want them to ask how treatment is going or would you prefer to raise the topic when you wish to discuss it?
Should you choose to be open with your employer, communicating with them regularly can beneﬁt you both immensely. The time you need oﬀ work is probably a lot less than your employer expected. Whenever possible, clinic appointments are scheduled around your work commitments. Still, there will be days when you need to take some time oﬀ work, for the egg collection procedure, for example. Provide as much warning as possible of the dates you may be absent. If you have any important work dates or travel commitments, then inform your Rotunda IVF team at the beginning of your treatment cycle. Perhaps your medication can be modiﬁed to suit your timetable. If not, ask the nursing staﬀ for approximate dates and times to help with planning your work schedule. Your employer is more likely to be supportive if you demonstrate that you will always try to ﬁt your treatment around your work commitments.
The coﬀee dock chatter
The work coﬀee dock is one place where separating your personal and work lives is likely to be a challenge. Working with pregnant colleagues or sitting through endless conversations about colleagues children can be very diﬃcult. You may be asked intrusive questions that you don’t want to answer such as: When are you going to start a family? Prepare yourself for these situations. Practice changing the topic or giving ‘oﬀ the cuﬀ’ answers. Allow yourself to make a hasty exist if you need to. Change the scenery - go for a walk outside or lunch with a supportive friend. It’s not avoidance - it’s being kind to yourself.
Are you being a good boss to yourself?
Some people are harder on themselves than any boss or colleague could ever be. Does that sound like you? Are you working late, not taking holidays or are you taking on extra responsibilities? Sometimes you need to be kind to yourself - switch oﬀ the computer and go home! Work will still be there the next day. If you can arrange it, a holiday or an extended weekend break with your partner, or friends, might be just what you need to lift your spirits.