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fertility in the workplace

Supporting Fertility Policies at Work Is About More than Money

Around one in seven couples will go through the pain of infertility – this is a common problem forecasted to become even more prevalent. However, while many employees are dealing with this issue, managers don’t always know how to support them.

Topics around infertility and miscarriage are still often taboo, and people feel awkward discussing them in professional settings. As a result, employees often struggle in silence.

One way that companies support their employees is with money and funding for fertility treatments, which can be an overwhelming cost. For instance, companies like Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google provide coverage for IVF and other treatments. While this help is welcome, infertile couples need more than just money. They need compassion and support.

This need led Dr Amy Beckley to found Proov, which helps women track their hormones and helps with fertility. She is speaking up about employers’ responsibilities to support their staff.

“You can’t just throw money at the problem and fix it.” Insteademployees need support and education to learn more about their options, and the flexibility to go after the best choices for their needs. According to a new study, only 29% of infertile couples said they felt supported by their employer during this process.

Speaking up in the Workplace about Infertility

Some people prefer to stay private about their infertility battles and the time off they need for treatment; others prefer to share their needs with their manager. However, managers don’t always know how to respond and often feel awkward about the issue or are worried about saying the wrong thing.

If an employee opens up about their struggles or reveals they’ve had a miscarriage, Dr Beckley recommends that a manager say,“I’m here for you, I’m going to support you. Please let me know if you need anything.” Managers should never offer unsolicited fertility advice, nor say things like, “it wasn’t God’s plan,” “you can try again,” or “my cousin had luck with x, y, or z.” These responses are often patronising and hurtful. Instead, it’s better to offer support and warmth.

It’s also important to understand just how painful this experience can be for women and their partners. Beckley says, “it just makes women feel like they can’t do their job as a woman. When that clock starts ticking, and women want to conceive, and they can’t, they feel ashamed. It’s just a hard topic for people to talk about, and it’s really, really emotional.”

Employers Need to Be Flexible

Employees dealing with infertility may require a lot offlexibility with their working hours as they often need to attend medical appointments on short notice. The treatments are unpredictable and often require last-minute adjustments. Managers should ensure that they are flexible and caring when it comes to these appointments.

How have your managers treated you when you’ve revealed fertility struggles? Drop us a line at info@ivfbabble.com

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