Balancing work and IVF
At some stage on a Sunday I like to take a moment to check over my calendar for the coming week and make sure I’ve got a plan for each of the days. I think about which mornings I can train, what I should wear each day and whether I have meetings for which I need to prepare. I’m not usually one for inspirational sayings but this one rings true for me: "A Sunday well spent brings a week of content".
Many women with busy lives take a similar approach and when they start to learn about the process involved in fertility treatment the biggest hurdle they face can be the lack of a set in stone schedule.
That's because fertility treatment isn’t a cookie cutter, one size fits all approach but is instead highly personalised. Every woman's cycle is different and patients even find their cycle differs from treatment to treatment.
Your Fertility Specialist and your Nurses will be able to outline a skeleton of your treatment before you start - ovarian stimulation, blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor your progress before an egg collection and hopefully an embryo transfer. But the details of exactly how many days of ovarian stimulation you require, which days you’ll need to come into the clinic for blood tests and ultrasounds and when your egg collection will take place are not something they can map out for you from the get go.
So the challenge becomes balancing your work schedule with your fertility treatment. Genea tries to make things as easy as possible by opening the clinic at 7:00am each morning so monitoring can take place before business hours. And where possible, your Nurses will call you in the afternoon to tell you the plan for the next day.
As well as those factors we thought it would be helpful to give you some tips and hints to make your life easier during your treatment.
Enlist a buddy
Have you considered telling someone at work that you’re about to undergo fertility treatment? To tell or not to tell is a very individual decision and you will need to weigh up the pros and cons.
If you have a good relationship, being honest and upfront with your boss could make life a great deal easier while you undergo treatment.
Letting your boss know will mean you don’t need to be mysterious or makeup dentist appointments to cover your clinic visits and may help you avoid difficult work travel decisions in the middle of your treatment. If not your boss then a trusted colleague may be able to help cover for you and provide support. If you are hesitant to share, remember people can surprise you and understanding at work (where you spend a big chunk of your time) can be vital.
If you decide not to tell, perhaps workshop some ideas to explain any absences. Root canal therapy at the dentist is one we hear is quite effective.
Technology is your friend
Most of us have access to work emails and even documents on our phones and tablets these days so take advantage of the free WiFi in the majority of Genea’s waiting rooms to respond to emails on the go and get through simple admin tasks. You’ll likely feel less resentful about waiting and your inbox will be less of a nightmare when you get back to the office.
Work is not the enemy
While some people will take leave from work during their treatment, it’s worth considering whether work might actually be a healthy distraction for you. "Not being at work and sitting at home worrying can be just as stressful as being at work," Genea's expert Fertility Counsellor Evelyn says.
Being productive at work can give you a sense of achievement at a time when it seems like no matter how hard you try, your fertility is not something you can problem solve.
Put yourself first - for a change
Many of us put work over our own needs, always answering that call or email and putting in extra hours. While you're having treatment it's the perfect time to make a change and put yourself first. You need to be healthy and fit to give yourself the best chance of having success. Ensure you eat well, get plenty of sleep, make time for exercise as well as carve out time for relaxation and fun with family and friends. You should consider making allowances for what you are going through. As Fertility Counsellor Evelyn says, be kind to yourself and schedule in some nurturing. "Cut back where you can on additional demands and try a little pampering - you’re worth it!"
All of this advice is not intended to give you the impression that balancing work and IVF is impossible. It is not. There is no perfect formula but what is important though is to plan for what you can while it’s happening. Looking after yourself and planning where you can will help you succeed in all areas of your life.
During your treatment, Genea’s Fertility Counsellors are always available to help with advice. Your Nurses will also be able to talk to you about your schedule and which parts of treatment are flexible so don’t hesitate to ask.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is a Genea Group blog and as such information may not be relevant for all clinics. We advise that you consult clinics directly for further information.