Dear HR Department: Infertility and Nose Jobs Are Not The Same Thing



I can’t believe that the title of today’s post is inspired by true events.

On the Resolve Facebook page there is a woman employed by a company that is telling her she is abusing sick leave after 1 year of intermittent appointments for infertility.

Subsequent conversations with managers, chief and HR resulted in the decision that infertility is not a medical condition, and does not qualify for sick leave or time for medical appointments.  She was even given the comparison of “it’s like a nose job”.

She faces the possibility that her only option to have a child is adoption, since that is covered under FMLA.

Even more incredible: she works in an all female department.

Let’s tackle the whole “infertility is not a medical condition” nonsense.

Here is the definition of infertility from the “”

Infertility: Diminished or absent ability to conceive and bear offspring. A couple is considered to be experiencing infertility if conception has not occurred after 12 months of sexual activity without the use of contraception. Infertility can have many causes and may be related to factors in the male, female, or both.

Let’s take it one step further, quoting an HR Manager that appears to have actually researched the subject:

I am an HR Mgr and just read an interesting article on how Infertility is a disability under the American with Disabilities Act.

The articles states that a federal appeals court ruled that infertility is a disability under the ADA, and refusing to accomodate problems that stem from that disability may amount to a violation of the law. However, infertile employees must show a connection between infertility and some adverse employer action in order to make a lawsuit.

It goes on to state that not accommodating time off for fertility treatments, in vitro fertilization attempts or adoption proceedings may violate the ADA. It also says that infertility and pregnancy are serious health conditions under the FMLA, requiring up to 12 weeks unpaid leave (and maybe more depending on your state). Fertility treatments may call for intermittent leave as well.

I guess that leaves us with the whole nose job thing.

When I look up rhinoplasty under covered disabilities, well, it ain’t there.

It doesn’t show up as a medical condition, just a “plastic surgery for correcting and reconstructing the form, restoring the functions, and aesthetically enhancing the nose.”

Sadly, I have seen arguments on Facebook where other women suggest that wanting to have a baby is an act of vanity.

That we merely want to have mirror images of ourselves, and that no woman “has to” have a baby.

I just can’t wrap my brain around that.

I guess it comes back to the whole uterus thing.

Nature or God, whichever you prefer, created women with the capacity to grow other human beings.

Every organ in our body seems to have some motivational power over our existence.

A heart keeps blood flowing through your body so you can function.

A stomach makes you want to eat to nourish the body.

Each organ has some purpose, some design that was either divinely orchestrated or naturally endowed.

Why is it so impossible to believe that a uterus might produce a strong instinctive urge to be have its capacity to house and nourish human life put to full use at least once?   Doesn’t that transcend vanity or selfishness?

I think some of the lack of empathy towards infertile women comes from an almost callous disregard for the value of motherhood and parenthood.

Barefoot and pregnant is considered a derogatory reference to many women nowadays.

But the infertile women in our support groups yearned for an image that included any descriptive that included the word pregnant.

The phrasing of any comment about how women were designed for “making babies” angers a lot of feminists, but I think they are so ideologically myopic that they can’t even empathize with the idea that there are millions of their sisterhood facing infertility challenges who believe they were made to make at least “a” baby.

That doesn’t mean they can’t also compete in a world filled with men for ambition, power, equal pay and equal rights.

It just means that their biology is hardwired to accomplish one thing that men will NEVER even come to close to being equal with women at:  growing human life inside their body.









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