One of the women I follow on Instagram has, very bravely, documented her latest IVF journey in real time. Her latest post brought me right back and, more importantly, it reminded me of my “why”, why I advocate loudly for Fertility Warriors, why I use the platforms and resources I am lucky enough to have. I have the luxury of being able to call attention to this topic and start conversations.
Indulge me while I give you a short biology lesson and the related stress involved:
|Daily injections, medications, and regular scans for a few weeks to stimulate ovaries in the attempt to grow a lot of follicles.||Stress before and after each scan if the follicles aren’t growing as hoped and if the amount is low. In each follicle should be an egg.|
|Egg retrieval day – a procedure which requires sedation||Will I get enough eggs? Will it hurt? How long will I need off work? You are powerless to influence the outcome.|
|Fertilisation happens where you hope for plenty of embryos|
Will enough embryos be created? More feelings of powerlessness.
|Over the next 3 – 5 days, you watch and wait to see if the embryos survive.||This part is torture. You guessed it – powerlessness!|
|If there are enough good quality embryos, 1 – 2 will be implanted (depending on where you get your IVF done) and any remaining will be frozen in anticipation of future cycles.||Hope is low if there is only 1 or 2 to pick from and if the quality is bad.|
|The “Two-Week wait”. Continuing to take medication and waiting to see if you are pregnant.||This is a famous period in Fertility communities. What can I do while I wait?|
For this person, on her 6th attempt at IVF, her 3 – 5-day watch over her embryos fertilising ended in heartbreak. None made it.
Now, imagine she worked in a company who didn’t support her. How does she make peace with the outcome whilst navigating sick days, performance expectations, whispers about her mood?
Fertility issues have no legislative protection in Ireland, meaning that many women must rely on the good will of their employers, hoping that it doesn’t dry up as the IVF attempts continue. Others can’t rely on any goodwill and therefore have the colossal added stress of trying to cover up everything I detailed above.
This is why I was proud to announce in April that not only did Retail inMotion embrace the Fertility Policy I wrote but also generously allowed me to make it available to any company who wanted it.
To date, three companies have launched it, a number of others have it in process. Over one hundred people requested it, which means hundreds and hundreds of conversations have been started.
I urge you to advocate for those women and men who are too vulnerable or broken to advocate for themselves. Reach out to me and I will send you the policy.