A new study reveals widespread worries that fertility struggles are interfering with career aspirations.
Only 16% of companies have supportive policies in place for employees who are struggling with their fertility, according to the 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey. This is despite a new report from WHO which found 1 in 6 people worldwide are affected by infertility.
Additionally, only 1 in 4 people received compassionate leave or paid time off for their fertility appointments. The news follows the proposal of a new Fertility Treatment Employment Rights Bill to give employees a statutory right to take time off work to attend fertility clinic appointments.
The 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey was conducted by Fertility Family, experts in supporting those trying to conceive, to uncover whether such a common issue is taken into account in the workplace. The survey gathered insight from 248 UK employees who’ve experienced difficulties in the workplace because of their fertility journey to gain more insight into how UK companies can better support their employee’s fertility struggles in the workplace.
The study also found employees feel forced to lie to their employers and fear for their careers because of infertility stigma:
20% of employees would rather call in sick than inform their employer of a fertility appointment (rising to 44% for those aged 45-54 years old)
1 in 16 employees felt the need to delay their fertility journey until they were in a senior role so they would be ‘taken seriously’ by their company
1 in 5 employees surveyed feared they would miss out on future opportunities if their employer knew about their fertility struggles
One anonymous respondent shares their experience of ‘career fear’ during their fertility journey:
“I initially discussed my fertility issues with my line manager [who] was flexible and supportive when it came to attending my appointments. However, this discussion happened just 3 months after…
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