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“How to deal with the anxiety of hiding fertility treatments at work” – Globe and Mail

December 19, 2023

Ask Women and Work

Question: I’m going through fertility treatments and finding it very difficult at work. It’s stressful to give myself hormone injections in secret and sneak off for appointments. Plus, my hormones are all out of whack, making me even more anxious. I know the fertility process can take some time, so how can I handle this better so that it doesn’t affect my job performance?

We asked Toronto-based psychiatrist Dr. Ariel Dalfen to tackle this one:

Unfortunately, this is very common issue, so know that you’re not alone in having to deal with this. Fertility is a very stigmatized topic in the workplace, and I think most people don’t feel confident to speak to their boss about it.

I wish I could say, ‘Oh, just speak to your boss,’ but the reality is people get penalized for this kind of thing. You need to understand your workplace and the culture and make sure that it’s not going to have implications on your job and you’re not going to be negatively evaluated because of it. There are some companies that talk the talk and say they’re women-friendly, but we all know what the reality often is.I hate to say that in this day and age and I wish it was different, but you do have to be savvy and smart about it. Systemic changes in the workplace would definitely help.

If you don’t feel it’s the right move to talk to your employer about it, it’s important to have someone that you can confide in. It can be great if you have a trusted colleague who can cover for you and help you feel like you’re not alone, because going through fertility treatments can be such an isolating experience. If you have a partner, you can call them and cry to them if you need to through the day, or a close friend or family member.


Read the full conversation here:


Written By:

Dr. Ariel Dalfen

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