How to Approach Fertility in the Workplace
Are you worried that others around you will not understand or sympathize with your fertility struggles? We explain how you can open up discussions about fertility in the workplace to erase any perceived stigmas, and potentially open up the door for better benefits surrounding treatments.
Fertility can be a sensitive and delicate issue for many women who are having difficulty conceiving. This can lead women to “wall themselves off,” and to only talk about their struggles with infertility with immediate family and close friends.
However, with regularly scheduled appointments, doctor visits and more, fertility treatments can start to conflict with one’s work performance. Reluctance to disclose fertility treatment in the workplace, can possibly lead to confusion about why you are taking additional days off, coming into work late or having to leave early.
To help alleviate any potential problems, we believe that it is very important to empower women to feel comfortable to speak about fertility in their workplace.
How to Approach Fertility in the Workplace
Many women, especially those who work in larger corporations, may feel that their company is not supportive or simply unaware of fertility treatments that their employees are going through.
This is a common misconception, as many businesses recognize fertility treatments in their healthcare agendas and even provide fertility benefits for employees. These policies are in place for a reason! Fertility treatments are becoming increasingly popular, and more couples are seeking help sooner if they have been unsuccessful in achieving a pregnancy on their own.
Although you may feel isolated or alone when it comes to your fertility, it is important to remember that nearly everyone has a friend or a family member that has faced similar challenges. For that reason, opening up to your co-workers or managers can be a refreshing step that will help release any worries, but also bring you closer together.
Normalizing Fertility By Starting Conversations
Experienced fertility specialist, Dr. Nicole Browne, believes that the best way to get rid of any unnecessary fear or shame about the topic is to put it right out into the open. Starting a dialogue among colleagues and bosses will help normalize the topic, leading to a greater understanding of it among those at work.
Even better, it can help shed light on some of the challenges that those who struggle with infertility go through on a daily basis. By being the one that brings everything to the forefront, (i.e. time management for appointments to the financial costs associated with undergoing fertility treatments, etc…), you can create possibilities for better medical coverage or leave for yourself and others.
Getting Over the Fears of Fertility in the Workplace
It is completely normal for women and men to have some anxiety about opening up about such a personal topic at work. However, Dr. Browne believes that the best way to approach the subject is by taking it head-on, noting that overcoming the fears can create a renewed sense of comfort at work.
Here are some of the most cited fears about bringing the fertility conversation into work and how you can get past them:
Nobody will understand my challenges with fertility
As previously stated, this is simply a myth! Studies show that roughly 13% of couples struggle with getting pregnant, so that means 1 in 7 people who are considering having kids on average may be in the same spot that you are in. With those stats, it is extremely likely that a majority of people in your office know somebody who has gone through fertility treatment, making the topic more common than most believe.
I don’t want to be fired because I need time for fertility appointments
The worst thing that you can do as an employee is try to hide the fact that you will be missing work due to visits to the fertility clinic. Your co-workers and management will notice if you are taking more time off than usual, so being upfront will allow them to understand and create a schedule that can fit around your commitments.
There are no resources for fertility support at my job
You may not be aware of the resources that your company has, so speaking with a manager or human resources specialist may help you find some programs to take advantage of. If there are no programs currently in place, then the only way to bring about change is by talking about it.
By having the courage to raise the topic of fertility and to help your company understand the importance of a support group, you may be the spark that helps change the entire organization’s outlook on dealing with employees undergoing fertility treatments.
Most Importantly, Stay Positive!
One of the biggest pieces of advice that Dr. Browne provides to patients is to remain positive throughout the entire process. As a fertility specialist that has helped thousands of patients achieve their goals of becoming parents, she has seen the joy that people who had previously been apprehensive about treatment have when they are able to conceive.
By keeping in mind why you are undergoing the treatment and always remembering that there is a brilliant light at the end of the tunnel, you can empower yourself to speak about the topic at work.
Each step you take to open up the conversation about fertility at work helps to get you one step closer to having better fertility coverage, more leave time to facilitate treatments, and reaching your end goal of getting pregnant! With that in mind, you can stay strong to help yourself and others by introducing the topic of fertility into the workplace.
Join a Fertility Support Group
Having a forum to discuss with others who are facing the same challenges as you can completely change your outlook on how common fertility struggles are. That is why New England Fertility advocates a local support group, as well as a wide range of resources, to help women through the fertility process.
Schedule a Consultation Now!
If you are ready to explore your fertility options, then the best way to start is to undergo a consultation with a fertility expert. Dr. Nicole Browne, Dr. Gad Lavy and the entire team at New England Fertility have the experience to create a comfortable setting to empower and educate women by offering a variety of fertility treatment options.
Schedule your consultation now with NEF and discover the power you have to open the doors of possibility to start or grow your family today!