Dealing with work and IVF

Fertility and infertility
Fertility treatment

IVF treatment means that you have to juggle the treatment schedule with the work schedule, not always an easy task. Revealing the reasons why time of work taken must raise the questions: who do you tell when you go for IVF? And what are the anxieties involved in telling?

The journey through IVF treatment brings many emotions to the surface. Couples who undertake the journey are often taken by surprise by the demands that IVF can make. Success and failure are always possibilities. In this program we hear about Anne & Alister's disappointment that is not often talked about but can be a very real part of the IVF journey. In listening to this podcast series please bear in mind that Anne and Alister's experience is not universal, it is their story. This podcast series is not intended to replace or replicate medical advice.


Stopping IVF treatment - dealing with work and IVF

One of the interesting things with me and IVF - and obviously I was new to Australia, we’d only been here a couple of years when we started IVF.  We’d had a lot of change.  I had a new job that started about a year and a half before we had our first cycle. I’m hazy on the time lines but it was something like that.

I actually found that with work... Work was the one area where I didn’t tell people that I was going through IVF. All of our friends here, all of whom we hadn’t known for very long were aware of it because I was a bit of a, well both of us were a bit of a crusader, so informing people and letting people know just how painful this struggle can be.

But apart from telling managers, and I had a couple of different managers which was annoying. I had to tell several different people over that time.  I didn’t tell anyone else.  And for me that was helpful I think and quite healthy because I needed to have a space.

I remember thinking at the time that I needed space where I could be as I was before.  I could be my work self and people don’t know this.  So I think it was helpful for me not to tell people at work.

In terms of time off and although the logistical side of it I was fortunate in have a supportive series of managers on the whole.  There was one difficult thing early on.  I think it was maybe our second or third cycle and I had a new manager who started, who was quite a stickler, time keeping, punctuality and going by the rules.  I remember telling him that I needed to take some time off, but I didn’t know when it was, maybe a few days, I don’t know.  And his response wasn’t what I really wanted it to be. I remember he sort of said “Oh, well it’s very important that we keep the standards up for units", something like that.

And then he started telling me about friends of his who’d finished IVF and hadn’t succeeded. And really giving me quite a hard... this is fairly uncertain, it may not work kind of line which didn’t feel like the most supportive.  I think I knew at the time, and I sort of reflected later that his response probably reflected his own anxiety about being new in the role and wanting to have a good team etc.

But I remember reading the fact sheets on IVF and thinking that’s not the response I want.  But apart from that the actual logistical support was OK.  But then again I felt it was a good decision not to tell people there and to have at least one arena where I was able to do my own thing.

And I deliberately, I knew people well who were going through IVF who decided to stop work.  I was part time for part of it, but I was full time for a bit of it as well.  I was studying as well. I was doing a fairly intensive course as well, and that was a deliberate decision to keep myself occupied with something that wasn’t just this.

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