Supporting so many altruistic egg donors through the egg donation process, Altrui gets to see some of the more common problems that women face on their journey. One of these can be the attitude in their workplace from managers and colleagues.
Anecdotally, employers’ approaches towards time off to donate range from fully supportive and positive, to obstructive. Altrui wanted to discover how donors and their managers could work together to facilitate the donation, bearing in mind the need to consider the wider workforce. We also wanted to know how clinics could make life simpler for donors.
We ran a survey to uncover people’s thoughts on whether it is appropriate for women to take time out of work to donate eggs. To keep it simple we just asked one question:
“How should employers or managers respond to a request for time out to become an egg donor?”
90% of respondents who were managers were supportive of women who wanted to become egg donors, even if this meant them taking some time out of work. However, many respondents thought it was reasonable for conditions to be applied, so time off did not cost the business.
For donors these conditions included:
- Being clear about how much time out of work is needed, based on appointment times and travel to and from the clinic, and approximately when the full day off for egg collection will take place.
- Timing the donation cycle after discussion with their employer, giving as much notice as possible, and ensuring that the workload is covered and the employer and colleagues don’t suffer as a result.
How managers can help altruistic donors
Ideally managers will treat donors in the same way as other employees who need a short period of non-essential time out of work. Egg donation should not have a negative impact on the business or workforce, but with a bit of thought it can be managed to everyone’s benefit. What can help is:
- Recognising that any disruption caused by egg donation lasts a relatively short time
- Being open to arranging flexible working hours during the period of the donation
- Allowing time lost through appointments to be made up rather than losing pay or leave
- Celebrate the positive impact on the business of employing people with the integrity of altruistic egg donors
What clinics can do to help egg donors
Altruistic egg donors are a very special group of women. Their essential contribution should be acknowledged by making their donation as easy and as smooth as possible. This includes:
- Arranging flexible appointments for scans and blood tests, and appointments outside working hours
- Merging as many appointments as possible to cut down on time off work
- Giving clear written schedules for treatment cycles and explaining exactly what time needs to be allowed for appointments
- Offering Skype/telephone appointments if at all possible
At Altrui, we’d like to see a positive attitude towards an egg donor who perhaps needs a late start at work to have scans, or time off on the day of egg collection. Most appointments can be made in advance, but some can only be arranged at short notice. Flexibility, within reason, is a fantastic way for an employer to win the support of loyal staff, allowing them to help a couple who have waited a long time for their chance to have a family.
- For more details, check out the full report: Poll: Time out of work for egg donation