HOW TO TELL WORK THAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH IVF

We were told in December 2018 that we were eligible for IVF, after +18 months of trying to conceive.  I really soul destroyed myself about how to tell work!  I realize now how ridiculous that was, you’re about to embark on an extremely tough period of your life and you need to focus on yourself more than ever. And worry less about everyone else.

At the time, I was working for a FTSE 100 company and knew that I wouldn’t be able to commit the amount of time required when we went ahead with treatment. I only told my boss, two immediate colleagues and my team. Here is a draft version of two emails I wrote to my boss and immediate colleagues, the first draft email followed a 121 conversation that I had with my boss two weeks before. I had a small team at the time and told them as a group, face to face. I also separately told my immediate colleagues face to face. Feel free to borrow and change the draft emails below with pride, filling in the italics. I was also living in Bristol and working an office job in London at the time, so please feel free to remove the geographical challenges if they’re not relevant.

Email to your Boss

Subject: Overview

Name,

I thought it would be worth giving you a bit of an overview of what the next few months will look like for me.  For you to fully understand the process – we’re having a type of fertility treatment (e.g. long down reg with ICSI), at the your fertility clinic.

I therefore unfortunately will have to make a few adjustments and lifestyle changes, in the hope that this will give the best possible chance of it working. I should only need to make these changes from the start to estimated end of your treatment.

I start injections on date, detail amount of injections plus other medication, they’re refrigerated and can’t be transferred easily so I won’t be able to lodge away in London.  In light of this, I need to re-look at my travel details. I’m hoping to be in the office by XXam every day, leaving home at XXam for the XXam train. I’ll plan to get the XXpm train home, allowing me to get home at XXpm and have enough space between injections. I will however need to potentially re-visit this depending on what the doctors are advising. I’m hoping to base myself in home location, working from home or/and staying local, minimum one day a week – the day will vary week by week based on activity in the office. This will also allow for appointments and commentary therapies too.

All being well, I’ll be having two ‘operations’ at estimated date. I may have to take a few days off the following week, date,  but I’ll know more closer to the time, based on recovery.

I don’t anticipate that this will impact my ability to perform the role, nor does it affect my commitment . Although I’ll be reducing my office hours, my general contact hours shouldn’t change. If you have any suggestions on how this could work better then I’m totally happy to discuss options. I appreciate that this is a lot of detail but I thought it would be best to give you too much rather than not enough.

There’s no need to ask how I’m getting on, I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for your continued support,

Your name

Email to your colleagues in advance of egg collection

Subject: Overview

Names,

I thought I’d let you know what’s going on next week, and share some details on the process. Firstly, I just want to say that doing less hours in the office for the amount of time, to allow me to detail on the fertility treatment, has made a huge difference – thanks for your continued support.

The clinic confirmed this morning that I’ll be going in for my egg collection operation on date, where I’ll be heavily sedated and according to the hospital I’m required to take 2-3 days off work after the operation. Although I won’t be in the office specific days, I’ll be fully contactable – I hope to make it into the office on date.

(If relevant) For some context, elements of the process have been postponed twice due to various reasons – hormonal and scans, hence why the timeline is much longer than I originally thought in my first email below. I’m learning that it’s really hard to predict and plan anything!

On day/date, I’ll either go back into hospital to get an egg put back in or the clinic will post-pone 4-5 weeks to allow everything to ‘settle’, depending on how I’m recovering.  It’s recommended I take it easy during this time. Therefore, I’ll keep with my reduced office hours until returning from my holiday on the specific date – perhaps we can reassess then.

Good luck over the next few weeks, sorry I can’t be there to support.

Have a good weekend,

Your name

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