Five Tips for Managing Your Career During Infertility Treatments
For many individuals trying to balance their careers while starting a family, their biggest concern will likely center around their bosses’ reaction to their impending maternity or paternity leave. However, when someone is struggling with infertility, the concerns over time commitment can start long before a positive pregnancy test. Most infertility treatments, like IVF and using fresh donor eggs, involve obligations that can rival a part-time job. The one exception is a frozen donor egg cycle, which only requires approximately two appointments to complete.
Before your treatment even begins, you’ll be put through the rigor of general health screenings and consultations with your fertility specialists. Hour after hour – appointment after appointment, you can expect treatment-related activities to become a standard part of your weekly schedule.
While managing your career and trying to get pregnant can seem daunting, it’s certainly not impossible.
By utilizing the five suggestions laid out in this article, you can help streamline your daily routines and keep things moving as smoothly as possible.
Come Up with a Plan First
Don’t rush into any big announcements without having a plan in place first. Before you begin any infertility treatment you can expect to have a detailed consultation with your doctor.
Take this appointment to ask any questions about what’s involved with the process and how long treatment typically lasts.
While any timeline provided by your doctor won’t be concrete, it will give you an idea of what’s to come. You can then use this information when discussing your upcoming treatment with your boss.
For instance, with frozen donor eggs you can let them know that you may need a little time off, but the process shouldn’t interfere with your normal schedule. This is one of the great benefits of frozen donor egg cycles, in contrast to other treatment options.
Be Honest and Direct with Your Supervisor
When you have a good idea of how long your cycle is going to last, it’s time to schedule a meeting with your supervisor.
During this meeting, explain what’s going on in your personal life, and let them know what kind of time commitment you’re expecting. Go in with ideas on how to manage your schedule and meet all your work requirements.
Keep in mind being honest doesn’t mean you have to detail every aspect of your fertility treatment. For instance, there’s no reason to divulge your need for an egg or sperm donor unless that’s information you’re ready and willing to share.
Ask About Work from Home Options
Once your cycle begins, your schedule can become increasingly unpredictable. During my own IVF cycle, for example, I ended up requiring almost daily monitoring appointments during my stimulation phase to avoid developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Until you physically begin your treatment, you won’t precisely know how things will work, or even how you’ll feel.
Discussing any opportunities to work from home with your boss, will not only provide increased flexibility in your schedule, but it will show a desire to meet all your work commitments and to get your job done as well as possible.
While some treatment options might not require you to work from home, like using frozen donor eggs, it can be helpful to have this option available as needed.
Minimize Extra Workplace Commitments
Are there optional committees and boards you’ve been thinking about joining through your workplace? Unfortunately, the middle of an infertility treatment cycle isn’t the time to start.
Most infertility treatments involve a significant mental, physical, and time commitment. Why wear yourself even thinner than you already are by adding one more obligation to your plate?
Thankfully, if you’re undergoing a frozen donor egg cycle, you won’t need to worry about expending too much time or effort completing the process. In fact, most frozen donor egg cycles take approximately 5 weeks to complete from start to finish.
Don’t Worry About Other People’s Opinions
So, Snobby Susie two cubicles down doesn’t agree with your choice to undergo IVF or use an egg donor—who cares!
Infertility treatments can be a hot button topic, and unfortunately, we all know how gossip seems to spread around the workplace water cooler. Don’t let other people’s opinions affect how you view your decision.
You are making the right choices for your future family. No one at work is going to have a better understanding of what’s best for you than you.
Don’t Let the Balance Between Work and Fertility Treatments Stress You Out
While a struggle with infertility isn’t easy, the opportunity to finally start a treatment cycle is a time for exciting possibilities. Please don’t let a stressful schedule dampen that excitement.
There are plenty of ways to strike a comfortable balance between career commitments and doctor’s appointments. By staying honest about your needs and keeping a flexible stance on how you handle whatever comes your way, you can significantly reduce any stress you may be feeling.
If you’re truly concerned about the amount of time your infertility treatments will take, it can be helpful knowing there are simpler options you can choose, like using frozen donor eggs.
No matter what decision you make, just remember – take things a day at a time.
Whether you’re going through an IUI or frozen donor egg cycle, this time in your life could be the first chapter in the rest of your story. Appreciate the moment and keep dreaming about the family you hope to build.
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer that shares two beautiful girls with her husband, Ryan. She loves spending time with her family, reading great books, and drinking good wine.
She is passionate about supporting other couples trying to cope with infertility.