Infertility – the inability to conceive – is a major health problem that affects people physically and more so, emotionally. In fact, one study pointed out that infertility can prove to be as traumatic a life event as receiving a cancer diagnosis. While the advancement of science means the availability of many infertility treatments, apart from the cost factor, they can be time-consuming and add to your stress. And when you have to balance your career with infertility treatment, it can further make life difficult for you. Dr Aswati Nair, Fertility Specialist, Nova IVF Fertility, Rajouri Garden, Delhi, shares key tips as to how to maintain work-life balance when undergoing fertility treatments.
“One in eight individuals, approximately, experiences difficulties when attempting to conceive, making infertility a prevalent concern that affects a large number of individuals and couples worldwide. Over time, there has been a gradual increase in the demand for fertility treatments,” shares Dr Nair. She adds, ” In recent times, there has been a noticeable surge among the working population in search of fertility solutions. Consequently, many individuals are apprehensive about managing their full-time work commitments effectively while undergoing fertility treatments. The resounding answer to their concern is a definite yes. Balancing work responsibilities and IVF treatment is feasible, but it necessitates prioritising one’s health and well-being without overburdening oneself.”
Navigating Fertility Treatments: Facing Challenges
Dr Aswati Nair says that finding the right balance between work and fertility treatment requires careful planning, communication with employers, and taking necessary breaks when needed to ensure both physical and emotional well-being. Talking about the challenges faced, Dr Nair says, “Beyond the evident physical and emotional toll of fertility treatments, the time and energy commitment poses significant challenges for individuals. Fertility treatment involves an excruciating journey dotted by frequent clinical visits for procedures such as bloodwork, ultrasounds, and consultations. Furthermore, adherence to strict medication schedules, which include timely medications and injections, adds another layer of complexity to the process. Amalgamating these factors with the stress and emotional burden, contribute to a taxing experience for individuals undergoing fertility treatments. Maintaining a good work-life balance is essential as it not only helps in increasing conception chances but also improves one’s quality of life.”
Fertility Treatments: How To Maintain Balanced Living
Dr Nair lists the following few steps for accomplishing work-life balance:
Acknowledge The Timelines: Once you’ve resolved your uncertainties and opted for the In Vitro Fertilization or IVF procedure, your subsequent task is to familiarise yourself with the procedure’s timeline. Take note of the early morning or evening appointments you’ll need to attend at the clinic. Additionally, compile a record of the days when you’ll require time off from work. This proactive approach will aid in better organization and preparation, ensuring you can manage your work commitments effectively while undergoing the IVF process.
Plan Well Ahead: Before initiating the possibility of flexible working hours, it is crucial to have a plan well ahead in advance to keep up your productivity and avoid last-minute chaos. You possess the most comprehensive understanding of your job responsibilities, so crafting the most effective strategy lies within your expertise. Preparing a solid plan and demonstrating the shifts, helps individuals from both parties to keep the expectations in check and manage effectively.
Physical Comfort Is A Must: To cope with physical discomfort, consider updating your work attire. Opt for comfortable and flattering pieces like flowing tunics, wrap dresses, and comfortable flats. Consuming small and frequent meals and snacks works wonders for many.
Slow But Steady: While undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, it’s important to manage your ongoing responsibilities effectively. It is crucial to take a breather time and again and avoid overwhelming yourself. It’s perfectly acceptable to ease up on both personal and professional aspirations during this period. Overextending yourself might interfere with your scheduled appointments, potentially impacting the success of the treatment. Moreover, the added stress and pressure might decrease your chances of conceiving.
Self Care Is Important In Fertility Treatments
“In addition to the above changes, following a few measures to inculcate in your personal life to ensure a smooth fertility journey,” shares Dr Nair. She mentions the following points:
Partner With Your Spouse: Collaborating with your spouse is key to navigating this challenging phase. By working together to handle personal and household tasks, reduce anxiousness and foster a positive environment for one another. Remember not to shoulder the entire burden on your own; teamwork is paramount in this journey.
Schedule Self-Care: Allocate consistent time for engaging in activities that help alleviate stress. Whether it’s journaling, cooking, baking, taking walks and spending time with nature; these activities can contribute to reducing stress levels. Exploring deep breathing techniques and participating in mindfulness classes or utilizing mindfulness apps can also yield similar advantages. Discover the methods that resonate most with you and incorporate them into your routine for effective stress management.
Quality Sleep: Ensuring quality sleep is crucial during this period, hence individuals should strive to achieve a minimum of 7 hours of sleep each night while undergoing treatments. Creating a conducive sleep environment and adopting healthy sleep habits can significantly contribute to managing stress, supporting your body’s processes, and overall well-being during this time.
“Flexible work arrangements and support are essential as they enable employees undergoing IVF to attend frequent medical appointments and administer daily hormonal injections without undue stress. Implementing such arrangements demonstrates a supportive workplace environment that recognizes the unique needs of each and every working staff. Leaders who take the time to comprehend the IVF journey can approach an employee’s fertility experience with empathy and compassion, fostering a culture of understanding and care within the organization,” s