Talking to Your Boss About Infertility

Infertility can be a hard subject to discuss. A diagnosis of infertility is highly personal, and you may feel that those around you just won't understand. Even those closest to you, including your family, friends, and coworkers, may be difficult to talk to. However, when it comes to your place of employment, you may need to discuss a certain amount of information about your experiences with your employer. Whether you need time off, a break in your job duties, or just an understanding ear, here are some tips on how to talk to your employer.

Your Infertility Diagnosis and Work
Receiving a diagnosis of infertility can be very surprising and upsetting for some couples. Undoubtedly, you are experiencing a range of emotions, from anger right through to depression. You may be particularly worried about how you are going to deal with work repsonsibilities while managing your diagnosis. Many couples worry about how their infertility may impact upon their work. Specifically, you may worry about:


  • how many days off you are going to need to pursue treatment
  • whether you will be physically up to going to work
  • whether you are emotionally ready to go back to work


Why Tell Your Employer?
You may be wondering why you should tell your employer anything about your diagnosis of infertility. Though it can be difficult, keeping your employer informed about your situation can be helpful in many ways, particularly if you are going to be needing a lot of time off work. By letting your employer know about your diagnosis, she may be able to:


  • reorganize your work schedule
  • change your work responsibilities
  • provide you with extra time off
  • allow you to work from home
  • provide you with more flexible work hours


All of these things can be very helpful, particularly when it comes to scheduling fertility treatments, like IUI and IVF. It can also be helpful should you need to take a break from things, to deal with the emotional impact that an infertility diagnosis can have.

What Should You Tell Your Employer?
It is important to get a handle on exactly how much information you should tell your employer about your infertility. Depending upon the relationship that you have with your employer, you may or may not want to reveal a lot of detailed information. Keep in mind that your infertlity is a personal thing, and your employer has no right to know every detail of your diagnosis or treatment. However, your boss does have a right to know why you need time off. Here are some tips about what you should reveal:


  • You don't have to tell your boss that you are dealing specifically with infertility.
  • You should tell your boss that you are dealing with a serious medical issue.
  • Be sure to inform your employer that your condition is not life threatening.
  • Reassure your employer that your condition will not interfere with your ability to work.
  • Inform your employer that you may need more flexible working hours in order to arrange special medical treatment.


How Should You Tell Your Employer?
Choose a time when you feel most able to communicate information about your situation. It is probably not a good idea to sit down with your employer immediately after your diagnosis or after a failed pregnancy test. Instead, choose a quiet time when you feel physically and emotionally strong. Also, try to choose a time when your employer isn't worried about ongoing work responsibilities or other issues.

Ask for a quiet meeting with your employer and inform him about all that you feel comfortable telling him. Together, you can then sit down to form an plan of action, with regards to your future treatment. Be sure to ask for confidentiality.

Planning Your Time Off
Both you and your employer should take an active role in determining any time off that you will need. Before you talk to your employer, find out from your reproductive endocrinologist exactly how much time off you will be required to take. Once you have this information, you can give your employer a rough estimate of the days you will off for treatment. You and your employer may also want to work out ways in which you can make up lost time at work, such as working overtime or taking fewer vacation days.


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