If you are in the middle of an assisted reproduction treatment you will know that it is not easy combining it with your day to day. What’s more, it often takes its toll on emotional, social and professional life. It is this last issue that we want to address today in response to the question: how can treatment be combined with a job?
Doctor’s visits, blood tests, injections and ultrasounds – all of this has to be reconciled with working life as far as possible. Often, tests are conducted in the mornings at medical centres, which might be some distance from a patient’s place of work forcing them to travel. There are often delays at doctor’s visits or traffic jams in the city, making it impossible to justify time off work or use annual leave to cover all eventualities. In some cases, it is so difficult to reconcile treatment with work that people decide to take unpaid leave to undergo treatment with greater peace of mind.
For those who do not put work on hold, the negative effects can be numerous, including hot flushes, anxiety, stress, malaise, headaches, hyper stimulation and other disorders. It is essential to talk with your manager to make them understand the situation.
If managers are understanding, they will accept the situation, facilitating the hours or days needed without it posing a problem to job stability. In some situations, however, managers will not be so accommodating, although it’s always better to explain the situation rather than taking unjustified leave or making up excuses. At times like this, your doctor can also help by issuing doctor’s notes without specifying the reason.
Is it necessary to stop work during treatment?
Sometimes treatment can last for up to six months, one year or even longer. We recommend, therefore, that you don’t stop work. In general, working is always beneficial, as it enables you to take your mind off what is happening and not focus exclusively on the medical process. If the decision is to stay at home, it can lead to the creation of a distorted reality in which everything hinges on the desired pregnancy. We recommend that you try to lead a normal life as far as possible, combining work, leisure and family life.
To make better use of your time, we recommend that you take advantage of periods in the year that are calmer, avoid changes of responsibilities, and intense periods of activity in cities, to undergo treatment. If necessary you can also take some days’ leave, coinciding with the most stressful part of the procedure, which is usually stimulation.
Are there any laws on this?
There is currently no specific legal protection for women who undergo treatment but in some countries with more advanced regulatory procedures, documents have been formulated on this issue. This is the situation in Belgium, where a legislative procedure for regulating these types of situations is in the pipeline. Its objective is to ensure greater protection for women undergoing IVF treatment.
Treatments inevitably affect the patient psychologically, who must try and reconcile this new situation with their professional life. If necessary, centres usually have staff that will provide counselling and assistance throughout these times.