How to talk to your 40-something upwardly mobile divorced-with-no-children Director about infertility

In short, I don’t. I honestly don’t think he wants to know about my personal life and I don’t want to discuss my infertility with anyone, let alone my boss.  But my Director approves all my time off, and the erratic requests for blood draws, ultrasounds, egg retrieval surgery and embryo transfer will no doubt raise his curiosity.  My options, as I see it, are 3:

  1. Say nothing at all. Request the time off that I know in advance. When the unpredictable couple weeks come around and I’m driving 4 hours round trip multiple times a week to get my blood drawn and undergoing minor surgery and an embryo transfer, just call in sick as needed. It’s legitimate sick time, used at the doctors, and I can’t arrange it in advance. So call in sick when I need to, which will be a lot, and just let everyone deal with it.
  2. Be cryptic. Sit down with the boss and say “I’m having a minor surgery and will need some time off, but my doctor is waiting to see how my body reacts to certain medications before he schedules it. So I will be taking a lot of time off in the next few weeks for consultations and surgery, and just have to be kind of on call. Sorry.” I don’t think he’ll ask questions or pry, but I do realize this sounds fishy. Or like I’m getting cosmetic surgery or something embarrassing.
  3. Be honest. Tell him everything. It’s the workplace, so he can’t discriminate, and I’m sure in all his uber-professionalism he is tight lipped and does not gossip. But still – what if it doesn’t work? Will he feel obligated to be polite and ask how everything went? So, so awkward.

Another concern is the secretary I share with my boss. She’s really sweet and motherly, and no doubt if I call in sick or take sick time off she will be badgering me with questions about my well being, with the best of intentions of course.  If I tell her I’m having surgery and deny details is that weird?  Again, telling my work people I am doing IVF is a territory I’d rather not traverse.  If it’s unsuccessful it’s just another bad conversation I must have.  Not sure how to approach this.


2 thoughts on “How to talk to your 40-something upwardly mobile divorced-with-no-children Director about infertility

  1. It’s really a tricky one! The first time I went through it I didn’t tell anyone, and it was so difficult trying to explain why I was off and what was going on – as people notice and want to know! This time round I’ve just decided I can’t take the extra stress of hiding it so I’ve been completely honest with everyone, my boss, my colleagues, my reports. I think it’s also easier then if something goes wrong, or I get upset at work that I can get that time off work or leave early just by saying “it’s gone badly” and not having to explain myself. Yes it is a bit tough when everyone starts asking questions – but a quick “it’s too early to tell” usually gets them to leave me alone! xx


    1. Thank you for the insight! It helps to know what others have done. While my instinct is to stay tight-lipped, I am wondering if it might be far more stressful to be secret-keeping and IVF-ing all at once. Honesty is usually the best policy I suppose….

      Liked by 1 person

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