Getting pregnant isn’t always easy. Though the majority of people on this planet (90%) want to have a baby at some point in their lives, one-in-eight couples struggle to conceive.
Armed with the knowledge that fertility treatments are not only one of the most stressful things a person or couple will endure in their lives, but also one of the most important, Deborah and her husband Jake have made it their mission to help TTC couples to find the right doctor.
The couple had several traumatic experiences on the road to conception, and after spending tens of thousands of dollars trying to get pregnant, Deborah and Jake were motivated to not only find a reliable doctor themselves, but also to ensure that others in their situation didn’t have to experience what they did.
They created Fertility IQ, a place where those searching for the right fertility doctor or clinic can access unbiased, verified reviews about fertility specialists around the country.
But what does it mean to be a working woman, a lady boss if you will, while seeking or undergoing treatment?
Deborah Anderson-Bialis shares three things YOU need to know about fertility in the workplace—
1. Benefits for fertility treatments are not created equal.
All our workspaces look like this, right? Just in case they don't, we've rounded up the best companies to work for in 2016/2017 in terms of fertility benefits -- we've done a ton of work so you won't have to ask awkward questions at job interviews. There are some surprising companies and benefit packages in there! (Link in bio)
Some companies offer complete coverage for fertility treatments, and many more offer nothing at all—the breakdown of which companies are most generous may surprise you (Starbucks baristas are eligible, which equates to a 50% salary increase if they use the benefit).
Even within companies that offer coverage, those benefits aren’t applied equally— it’s very common for these benefits packages to discriminate against lesbian couples and single mothers, because patients must meet the clinical definition of infertility (having heterosexual sex for a year without getting pregnant).
Finally, be prepared to do some research on exactly what your employer offers. This is one area where employers do a terrible job communicating to employees about the benefits they’re entitled to. This can be because the benefit is expensive when lots of employees use it, and because they’re squeamish about the fact that benefits don’t apply to everyone equally.
2. The experience of undergoing fertility treatments, and even your chance of success, could vary wildly depending on where you work.
FertilityIQ data shows that teachers have significantly higher success rates with fertility treatments than women in male-dominated fields (think investment banking and engineering). Why? It’s hard to be sure, but when we’ve interviewed teachers, they highlight their supportive work environment, and the ability to take the summers to focus on treatments. Women in male-dominated professions talk about the stress of managing treatments without letting others in the office know what’s going on.
3. Real talk: fertility treatments will probably have implications for you at work.
Many women I talk to describe leading a double life while trying to get pregnant using fertility treatments. They don’t want their employers or co-workers to know what’s going on, but they’re often running late after morning monitoring appointments, and they need to block themselves off from work travel without a clear time frame. This is obviously stressful, even on top of the added stress of the fertility process itself.
If you’re a company considering offering fertility benefits, consider this. Of those employees who ultimately had a successful pregnancy, 72% believe that “working for my employer helped me have my child.” Thus, IVF coverage likely drives meaningful improvements in employee retention, and makes a credible case for return on investment.
More Motherly Insights
Since creating Fertility IQ with her husband, Deborah has had a baby of her own. Now, she’s here to share a few of her insights as a new mother.
How do you make your mornings run smoothly?
Having my nanny come early! I’ve realized there is so much to juggle in the morning – pumping, feeding my son, cleaning those pump parts, and getting out the door to work. I also really want to spend quality time with my baby in the mornings. Having my nanny come early means I can do the annoying (largely pump-related) stuff without stressing about keeping baby happy, but I can also play with him when I’m done.
The lifehack or tip that has changed your life. . .
Instacart!!! I love to cook, I’m not a fan of food delivery, and, while I wish I had time to hit the produce aisles in search of the perfect meyer lemon, it doesn’t make the cut in my daily priorities. I order just about daily from Whole Foods via Instacart—I love that I still get the benefit of daily fresh food and cooking without the time commitment.
What superpower have you discovered as a mom?
Filtering out other people’s opinions. As an entrepreneur, as a pregnant woman, and as a mother, people have infinite pieces of (usually unsolicited) advice. Learning to stick with my gut and filter most of that out (while politely nodding, of course), has been key to keeping my sanity.
This quote inspires me. . .
“I wish this was around when I was trying to get pregnant.”
Women from the FertilityIQ community are constantly emailing me with this exact sentence—usually after they take time out of their own busy lives to contribute feedback on their fertility doctors to help women who are just starting, feeling alone, lost, and wondering where to turn with a fertility issue. It really inspires me to keep working hard every day to make the fertility process better.
To me, ‘Motherly’ means…
FUN. I think it’s too bad that when I hear most people talking about motherhood, it’s usually a description of martyrdom. To me, being motherly means engaging on a child’s level, often in a silly, fun, happy way.
Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.