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Juggling work vs IVF

(12 Posts)
belkins Sun 03-May-15 21:11:25

Apologies if this has been discussed elsewhere...

I want to know how people juggle working whilst undergoing IVF.

I've begun a round of IVF in the past, but only got as far as the week prior to egg collection before the cycle was aborted (due to my relationship with my exDH breaking down) so I don't know the ins and outs of the actual egg collection/embryo transfer.

My new partner and I are now beginning fertility treatment together, but in the intervening years I've developed a high stress career and I genuinely don't know how to juggle working whilst attending appointments for IVF.

This isn't a case of putting my career first, I suffer from recurrent miscarriage so have developed my career as a result of needing something to focus on due to my infertility.

I don't want to tell my boss about it, I work in a male dominated environment and I was honest with them years ago when undergoing IUI. Sadly my boss commented on my 'poor performance' during IUI and said I was 'much better' when not taking the drugs. Unbeknown to him I had started another cycle on them but had decided not to tell him...

Would anyone be able to advise me what do I realistically need to plan for or how they managed it? Would I need to have 2 weeks off work? I'm guessing I can't book the time off in advance as don't know when the cycle will start...

Many thanks for any experiences you could share with me.

Woobeedoo Sun 03-May-15 21:49:56

For my cycles I asked the clinic to give me the first appointment of the day which was around 8am, it meant I was about 20mins late for work as I commute from Essex into the City.

During down regging I only had the initial demo appointment and then a scan after my breakthrough bleed. I down regged for about a month.

Once the stims started I had to go in every 3 days for an internal scan. I skimmed for 10 days which is roughly average.

I needed a day off for egg collection and then a day off three days later for egg transfer. Around 12 days later I did the pregnancy test.

Only my boss, one HR member and one v close colleague knew what was happening. I told any of the nosey buggers I hadn't been feeling well lately and was having to have blood tests and so on to ascertain why I felt off colour.

The first round of IVF my boss was totally lacking in understanding. Someone must've slapped him with a haddock as for the second go, he was so kind it was bizarre!

Tryingno1 Sun 03-May-15 22:17:50

Hi belkins. I'm so glad u asked this as I would like to know too. It's really stressing me out!

I too work in a place which looks "down" upon women getting preg, gossip no end, and during my muscarriages were so unsupportive (including it becoming the office gossip, I stupidly told one boss which I regret. My following 2 miscarriages I didn't tell a soul ).
Anyways, now I start ivf not sure how to play it.

My DH says to just f* it and take off 2 weeks from egg collection to transfer if that's what I need, or more. When I went in and struggled I got "ur performance is suffering" and when I didn't go in I got "you've been off an awfully long time". So maybe I should just forget them and do what helps me get through this!
But it really does add to my stress levels.

Speaking to some others they have suggested egg collection and a few days after u may need off. And have suggested that after embryo transfer they felt fine to go back to work. But maybe take testing day off to cry or rejoice/shit ur pants!

usually clinics are good at giving u early am/late appts.

All the best with ur cycle x
Ps some work places give u "ivf" leave.

belkins Mon 04-May-15 17:36:53

Thanks Woobeedoo, that's actually really helpful info and put my mind at rest a little. I think I've built the whole thing up a bit and I need to take a step back and look at things in a more logical way.

Oh, and however it happened, glad to hear your boss got better for your second round (not convinced this will be the case for my boss sadly...he's extremely judgemental and more than a little patronising).

belkins Mon 04-May-15 17:45:06

Tryingno1, thanks also. It's a hard one to juggle isn't it? Especially if you're anything like me, and prone to overthinking everything (and that's without the added hormones!).

Whilst I like your DHs attitude, I just don't it in me to say 'f*ck it'.... My job has been my rock and I need it as a fallback if the IVF doesn't work! I know people say it's not healthy, but my work kind of defines me now (which I'm not convinced it would have, had I children by now).

Best of luck x

Readyforthefuture Mon 04-May-15 17:48:04

This is such a good question, and something I'm sure loads of women ttc give a lot of thought. Work is a fantastic distraction from the torment of treatments, not to mention something that can actually help build your self esteem while you inevitabily beat yourself up over fertility issues.

I haven't started ivf yet (hopefully won't have to if this cycle of iui is successful), but I think a lot of the time commitment is similar. I have a baseline scan (between days 1-3) which makes it easier to be a bit flexible, then there were scans on Mondays, Wednesday's and Fridays for everyone at my clinic until they think you're ready to trigger. To handle this I booked myself a few long weekends (covering the Monday and Friday slots), then came up with 'doctors appointments' to slip out on the Wednesdays. For the actual IUI I had planned a week long 'illness' (i haven't been sick in over 2 years, forcing myself into work when I feel like dying to save it for this). In the end I didn't need to as they had to rush the procedure and open the clinic on a Saturday.

For IVF I plan to do the same thing, but will look to take off a week with ET etc.

I figure that flexibility works both ways, I don't want to talk about this at work with anyone, no one can understand what this is like unless they've been through it. When I'm at work, I'm at work, it's not fair to be in and out then be distracted when you're there - as hard as it is. If I need some extra time out, then I'll give some extra time. Maybe clock up some brownie points before starting ivf, it's something else for people to reflect on rather than while you've got other things on your mind?

(Sorry for the long post)

belkins Mon 04-May-15 18:57:45

Readyforthefuture, your first paragraph nails it exactly for me, thank you for putting it far more succinctly than I could! Work is both a distraction and a confidence boost for me, somewhere I CAN succeed (whereas I'm just not so good at baby making!).

Best of luck with your IUI, really hope it works out for you!

Readyforthefuture Mon 04-May-15 19:06:57

Belkins, you're not alone in thinking this way at all, I totally get it. Don't give up on something (even mentally) that makes you feel good, and gives your world more meaning.

I don't think you need to spill your guts at work unless you want to. Especially if the attitude is anything less than supportive.

Good luck with everything, thanks for your kind words on the iui - fingers crossed.

larry123 Sun 28-Jun-15 10:36:53

Hello all, first post (joined for some support throughout ICSI).
Belkins this has been playing on my mind since Christmas (due to start ICSI meds tomorrow) and I swing between it's none of their business as there is nothing to tell until there is something to tell, and revealing all may actually lower stress levels for the greater good. Very conscious of perceptions and being seen as 'opting out' (Sheryl Sandberg TED talk 'why we have too few women leaders' sums things up perfectly) even though i'm still there and loving my work. Work is very much the one constant and although fairly ambitious, family is priority hands down.
It could be that i'm frightened to make the decision or that it is ok to take it as it comes based on how I feel. Or a bit of both!
Look forward to hearing everyones experiences & good luck all x

Beany88 Fri 24-Jul-15 09:04:49

Hi. I too have a highly stressful demanding job and have just been through ivf.
We had to go private as already have a child naturally conceived 8 years ago.
I don't know whether I'm ashamed to admit it or not but we chose to go private at an NHS hospital based on how close it is to my work as well as their performance so I could go to appointments early in morning or over lunch.
I even had embryo transfer in my lunch hour!
The drugs haven't really affected my mood at all although trigger injection made me swell up so fitting into work clothes has been challenging.
The hospital didn't say rest was needed so I've been carrying on at work and only needed one day off in all for egg collection x

worldgonecrazy Fri 24-Jul-15 09:21:48

It's a tricky thing to plan for. I've done 3 rounds of IVF (last one succesful). The first one I breezed through and just had a day off for egg collection and one for transfer. Unfortuntely a few weeks later I needed 2 weeks off for a miscarriage. The second one I needed a week off before egg collection as my ovaries were very close to over-stimulating and I could hardly walk. I had a half day off for transfer and a week off afterwards in the hope some relaxation would improve prospects - negative outcome. The third time I breezed through the ivf process and had day off for egg collection and day off for transfer. All the scans, etc. during the ivf process were very early in the morning so I didn't need time off for those.

IVF is so hard, I can't imagine trying to do it without a supportive employer. I did treat myself to acupuncture to destress in the evenings, which I'm sure helped a lot.

Good luck and I hope you get your miracle.

Frazoz Fri 24-Jul-15 09:33:45

Hi ladies

I thought I'd give you my view point as I had a successful ICSI in February, the only thing I would say to keep in mind is that when you go for egg collection you'll need the day off and if like me you have a few eggs collected (18) you could end up with OHSS. I ended up getting OHSS and was then taken into hospital and had two weeks off sick. The hospital are great if this did ever happen and would do a sick note saying Gyny issue so wouldn't state it was IVF related. However, due to this I couldn't have the ET and then had to go onto a medicated FET which meant I had to down reg for 6 weeks and this was hard as I originally didn't down reg as was on a mild cycle to stop me getting OHSS (I had a high AMH level). Things don't always go to plan and having to keep coming up with excuses can be stressful in itself and it may impact how you are feeling and could impact your performance.

I wish you all every success!!

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