Infertility and Job Interviews


Lately I’ve become frustrated at work and have been casually applying to jobs that I find interesting. You know, just to see what’s out there. I recently went on a job interview even though I’m—at best—noncommittal about actually taking the plunge and leaving my current employer.

The interviewer, “Mr. Boss Man,” asked if I was married only minutes into the interview. Although his question is in direct violation of both ADA and Civil Rights Act laws due to its discriminatory nature, I chose to answer just to be polite. Then Mr. Boss Man asked if I had children. Strike two on illegality, sir! I paused, considered my options, experienced a sudden deep pang of pain, and answered no. His purported “reason” for asking was to make sure I had adequate child care during the workday. Since he knows I’m presently employed, if I did have children then I would clearly already have childcare arrangements, no?

When Mr. Boss Man next proceeded to ask if I planned to have any children, I felt myself mentally begin to check out of the interview. Many of you—especially those of us who’ve suffered miscarriages or early loss—know that very same feeling when asked this, The Dreaded Question. The inevitable pause to decide how to respond tactfully. The feeling of slight churning panic. The debate of answering “Yes,” then having explain yourself. The debate of answering “No,” then waiting for Dreaded Question #2 of when you’ll “start your family” and still having to explain yourself.

I clamped my mouth shut about how his line of questioning was inappropriate. Then I resisted the urge to spring out of my seat and end the interview on the spot.

Because what I REALLY wanted to say was, “You know what, Mr. Boss Man? I suffer from infertility and can’t have children. Thank you for your many reminders of that fact during this interview. My maternal status (and marital status) is a personal topic that’s, quite frankly, none of your business, not to mention absolutely unrelated to the position you’re interviewing me for. However, I’m praying and believing God to give my husband and I the desire of our hearts and bless us with a child. Would you like to add us to your prayer list?”

That would’ve ended the interview for sure. Maybe I should have said just that. But it wouldn’t have been very Christlike, which I’m aiming for these days in all my interactions with others… even if my initial reaction (as stated above) wasn’t very Christ-like. What can I say? I’m very much a work in progress.

Instead, I replied, “It’s complicated.” 

Multiple times throughout the two-and-a-half-hour (!) interview, Mr. Boss Man kept alluding back to my potentially having children. He helpfully informed me what school district I should move to when I have kids. He strongly implied that my position with his company might be endangered if I had a sick child and no childcare.

Mr. Boss Man then told me he wanted to hire me. He offered me a ridiculously high salary to boot. I told him that I’d consider his offer. In reality, my mind was made up less than thirty minutes into this, the longest interview of my life.

How did the story end?

I turned down the job.

Certain things in life just aren’t worth it, no matter how much money’s on the table.

And questions about one’s procreation status during a job interview? Never cool. Fertile or not.

male hand in a suit showing the stop gesture