Tell the boss about infertility?

I don’t often travel at work but of course yesterday my boss asked me to go to Copenhagen in mid-April, just the week after the estimated IVF date. I love Copenhagen and this is for a really interesting workshop but what if I’m on hyper stimulation and cannot travel? What if I go and then get a negative and feel super guilty about having travelled? What if I am super slow in reacting to the meds and end up having the egg retrieval or transfer that week?
I don’t think it’s a good idea to go. Too bad for Copenhagen and for the workshop.
So the question is, how do I say no to my boss? In all this yesterday he also told me that in April we’ll have a visitor for 2 weeks and I’d need to be available to meet him. I’ll be off for one of these 2 weeks for the IVF but I didn’t dare saying it.
I talked about this to my family and they all said I should just tell him the truth at this stage. So I tried with my hubby: same answer. So I tried with one of my best friends (colleague who know my boss): same answer.
I think in theory they are right but I really don’t feel ready for it. Why yes: I wouldn’t have to come up with silly excuses, I would maybe get a bit more understanding/flexibility at work and I could warn him when I am likely going to have time off.
Why no: my boss is bad at handling people, so he is likely to ask too many questions, to get worried about my output and to blame me for delays or problems in the team.
What to do.. What to do..

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6 Responses to Tell the boss about infertility?

  1. Wouldn’t “having a procedure done” cover it? Just like any other “procedure there is recuperation time required. Telling whole truth works too though. The only trick is that some people are very sympathetic and some don’t get it at all! It’s still probably better to mention it in advance…makes it seem (because it is) more medically official, not something you’re doing on a whim. If you had a surgery booked, you’d tell him by now!

  2. Joanna Schwartz says:

    Let us know how it turns out, keeping fingers crossed for you!

  3. Joanna says:

    Be human honey bunny. Lay it out on the line. Even if he is uber over structured and goal oriented, if you speak from your heart will give him a chance to be a human too. Plus, by having the braverty to speak your truth you are honoring the integrity of the relationship.
    Love you!

  4. Telling my boss was the best thing I ever did, but it helps that she’s very sympathetic (probably helps that she’s a woman). I think alluding to a “medical procedure that will require frequent monitoring and doctor’s visits” would be sufficient, though. He probably can’t/won’t ask exactly what it is, but at least that gives you some leeway for appointments.

  5. E v e l y n says:

    I did a number of cycles before I told my supervisor at that time and I only told her because I had to turn down some training that coincided with a retrieval/transfer. I didn’t want to tell her but it worked out way better than I expected. It made it easier to book off time for subsequent treatments and it didn’t seem to impact anything at work, oh, and she was unexpectedly supportive when I told her.

    It’s a different story when my work friend became my supervisor. Before she became my supervisor she told me she couldn’t understand why our supervisor wasn’t planning anything with me becasue I might end up being on maternity leave or be off with a high-risk pregnancy. I feel that she has made some decisions about my work assignments with this in mind which really bothers me. Her knowing still makes it easier to take time off but I wish she didn’t know the truth. I’ve daydreamed about suggesting a medical issue, that is not infertility, because I really don’t want her to know the details anymore because I fear I will be relegated to really meaningless tasks.

    So, I’m on the side of saying you have to have a procedure done but saying it in a way that your supervisor won’t ask too many questions.

  6. Wonderful news about your biopsy! I’ll be thinking of you and your husband this next cycle. If all goes well, we’ll probably be doing an FET just around the time of your April IVF.

    Thank you for the suggestion about the “groupe de parole”. I’ve been looking into a fertility “groupe de parole” in Lyon where we’re living, but haven’t managed to find anything just yet.

    Like you, I was quite concerned about hyperstimulation with my first IVF when my estrogen levels skyrocketed before egg retrieval. I was surprised with how unforthcoming my gynecologist was at first about the risk of hyperstim. If you’re interested, there is an open access article about hyperstim prevention that I found very helpful when talking about the issue with my gynecologist (New algorithm for OHSS prevention, Papanikolaou et al. 2011, http://www.rbej.com/content/9/1/147).

    For our IVF last month, I wasn’t ready to tell work and I was bothered by the fact that my “arrêt maladie” would be coming from my clinic that specializes in infertility. I asked my gynecologist if there was any way around this and she said there wasn’t. I thought about it some more and asked here a couple days later if it would be possible to have my “médecin traitant” write the “arrêt” and she said that would be fine if my doctor agreed. I will probably eventually tell work, but I’m not ready quiet yet. Maybe if you “catch” the nasty stomach flu mid-April, your boss won’t want you anywhere near the visitor😉.

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