I was born in the year of the Rooster and my husband is a Snake according to Chinese astrology. And this year is our Year of the Baby.
We began the process in February when my darling sister came to Australia from New Zealand to donate her eggs. Since then we have tried to get pregnant with the resulting eight embryos. In the process I have used up all my annual leave for days when I have had embryo transfers, appointments at the hospital etc.
It suddenly dawned on me the other day that I have been a bit dimwitted in my approach to taking leave over the ‘trying to conceive’ process.
Surely I should have taken my leave as sick leave? On the days I have had off, I have spent them at the hospital and then gone home to bed. I have had a ‘medical procedure’ and had to pay for a hospital bed (even though I didn’t lie on it but that’s another story I’ll bore you about another time). I haven’t exactly been jet setting around the globe having a fab time, much less a holiday.
So I broached the subject with my boss and asked her if she would consider converting some of my annual leave taken into sick leave. She looked at me astonished, saying she couldn’t believe I was asking the question. She said that if she wanted to get some plastic surgery, she wouldn’t expect to be able to take it as sick leave. I said that trying to have a baby was a bit different to having plastic surgery, to which she replied: “Well you’re not dying of cancer are you? So your treatment is elective so therefore it’s not appropriate to claim time of work as sick leave.”
I was equally astonished at her reaction and asked her if she knew that infertility was classified as a disease? I also said that I had to follow this course of treatment to be able to have a baby and that while my life isn’t threatened, it is my ONLY option to have a baby. I finally said that I had been honest with her about my need to have IVF and could instead have kept it quiet, and claimed the sick leave, saying that I was having a medical procedure each time.
We eyeballed each other a bit and then she visibly softened (probably because she could see I had tears in my eyes). She admitted it was something she hadn’t thought about before (granting sick leave for IVF treatment). She is the head of HR at our company, at which only 2% of employees are women. She said would consult with other managers and get their views on it before drafting up some kind of position/policy for all our employees, including me.
I’m interested to know what others do on the days you have your embryo transfers/hospital appointments/etc. Do you take your leave from work as sick or annual leave? Am I being unreasonable to want this?