For fertility patients, it can be hard to compartmentalize work and treatment. Let’s cover the ways in which the two can feel inextricably linked, both in theory and reality.
First, most patients are terrified that if it comes out they’re even trying to have a baby, they’ll be marginalized or fired. If a colleague lets you in on this, they’re probably taking a real leap of faith, hoping that you can be discreet and keep it to yourself.
Next, patients need their jobs, now more than ever. Many of us feel like we’re good at our jobs and during a period of turmoil and disappointment, work can keep our confidence up, or at least distract us from the pain.
That, and work helps pay the bills. Below we plot the cumulative odds and cost of having a single birth through IVF. As you can see, doing enough cycles to lift the odds can push costs into the six figures. Thus, having a steady, healthy income can make the difference when trying to have a child through treatment.
In recent years our study data has shown employees who had their fertility treatment covered by their employer viewed themselves as far more committed to their company than they’d previously been.
What’s more, if those treatments succeeded, the vast majority of these employees returned to work after the birth of their child.
Fertility treatments are incredibly stressful and, mixed with the stress of work, things can boil over. This is a guide for co-workers to understand what their colleagues are going through, so that they can help create a supportive workplace environment. We cover everything from the things you should say & the things you should avoid saying to your co-workers, to the ways that fertility treatments will concretely impact work schedules.