Fertility Treatments and Work: Deciding What to Share With Your Employer

IMG_1354One of our local news anchors just had triplets. And in a recent blog written on the station’s website she recently talked candidly about her triplets being the result of fertility treatments.

Of course, none of that is very surprising. Everyone knows fertility treatments can lead to multiples – and there are more and more women seeking fertility assistance every day. What you might find surprising is how open she was about her treatment with her boss and coworkers. She even mentions keeping her inject-able medicines in her producers office, with him racing to help her take the medicine between commercial breaks.

It’s a decision every infertile woman needs to make : who, if anyone, do you tell about treatment. Telling friends and family is one thing – but what do you say to people at work?

As an IVF mom and former infertile, I found myself in this same position. After countless treatments failed, we pursued IVF.  I certainly  hadn’t planned to tell anyone at work about our situation, but right as I started our IVF cycle I was approached about taking a high-profile project.My boss was in my office laying out the opportunity and that’s when it came out:  inexplicably I blurted it all out and told him our story.

And while that wasn’t my initial plan, the days and weeks that followed that meeting brought a lot of relief. Fertility treatments require a slew of doctors appointments, drugs that make you overly hormonal, a stress and sadness that can creep in and manifest itself in odd ways. I was worried my coworkers thought I was suddenly lazy, crazy, or not carrying my weight. I felt like every single time I stepped out of the office I was being deceitful.

That said, I’m not encouraging you to tell everyone at work your business. Some things are better suited to be private – and only you can truly evaluate your situation. But if you’re facing fertility treatments and are unsure if you should come clean at work, here are some things to think about:

  • How strong is your relationship with your boss? If it’s not strong, or if you have a male boss you don’t feel comfortable talking to – is there a female leader in your office you can approach?
  • Do you consider your employer to be family friendly?
  • How have you seen coworkers treated when dealing with medical issues?
  • Is your job at risk if you have to take unexplained time off for appointments and procedures?

Other factors to consider is the nature of your position (are you a temporary employee, on contract, full time, etc), your tenure with the organization, and your exemption status.

With a little time and consideration, you’ll make the decision that’s best for you. And whether you talk about it at work, or keep it to yourself, my heart and my hopes are with you.

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