When to tell work that you are having fertility treatment?

Should I tell work about our troubles with fertility?  I had so many questions about this, playing out many scenarios.  Who should I tell?  When is an appropriate time to talk about?  How do you get onto the subject?  What my colleagues would think?  Would they treat me differently? Would they see me differently?  Would they even care?

We had our big team meeting to discuss our annual programme of work two weeks ago, just after our doctor diagnosed ‘unexplained infertility’.  At the time, my head was spinning with all these big questions.  Knowing that we were going to be talking about the coming year and which project each person would be assigned to, I thought perhaps my team should be aware that I had a good reason for why I was less keen to travel for work.  But I chickened out of telling anyone.  It was too difficult to bring up the subject and I had no idea how to raise it.  So I left it at that, I said nothing  We planned our programme of work, and agreed when I would travel.

This year, so far, I have work travel plans to go to Paris, Washington DC, Toronto and Bavaria.  I’m not going to be racking up the air miles gold status like I did in 2014, but it’s enough to be starting with.  It’s enough to probably mess up a few chances to conceive – or if I were to fall pregnant, then I would need to be cautious about how much I fly.  Last year we were very lucky.  Despite my many trips to other side of the pond, there was only really one time where my work travel reduced our chances of success.  It really was quite amazing!

Back to the question of when to tell work?  Well, a good opportunity came along when I had a one to one with my line manager to discuss annual personal objectives.  I struggled to get the words out, but eventually managed to explain that Chris and I were going through fertility treatment.  My boss is very nice and has always joked with me ‘wait ’til you have little Chris and Dani’s running around!!’. So as you can imagine, he provided some comforting words – mostly focusing about what would happen when I do get pregnant, how much support I would get and not to worry about anything.  I felt very comforted, but I could not really talk about what my biggest concern was – taking time off work for appointments and treatment.  I have plenty of leave I can take, but a lot of my work requires advance planning, so with treatments based around my irregular cycles, this may have an impact.

Once I get a bit more comfortable talking about it, I know I will be able to easily talk to him about it.  I am very lucky.  It’s actually myself who is the biggest hurdle in all this.  I have great colleagues who I know will definitely be very supportive and understanding, but it’s knowing how to initiate that discussion I can’t quite get over.  Maybe next week, if I’m feeling brave!

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