Why a fertility policy or guidance matters at work

Welcome to the latest episode of The F Word at Work coming to you for National Fertility Awareness Week 2023.

We’re really excited to be able to share something that has been shaped by our hard work within the workplace wellbeing space over the last two years as we’ve really gained a lot of knowledge from the many conversations we’ve had with organisations looking to implement support and the range of policies we’ve now seen, so to mark the week we’ve launching a brilliant new download for you to use to shape your workplace policy and our three co-founders Becky, Natalie and Claire have a chat about it. We also caught up with Fran Steyn, VP of Clinical at Peppy healthcare about new research they are sharing for the week about the impact fertility issues have on people’s working life.

What was discussed:

  • What you can expect from our policy guidance document – Claire talks about how she approached it from the patient as well as an HR Professional
  • Our aim was to give people a boost in their understanding 
  • How this should help HR have an honest conversation with employees – to ask them what they need
  • We hope organisations can use it to put their own stamp on it
  • Stats included to ensure people understand the scale of this conversation 
  • Key for managers, HR or the person going through it – that if the policy isn’t relevant, isn’t inclusive, doesn’t validate what you are going through how that will impact your first reaction as to whether you feel your organisation will support you to encourage disclosure
  • Lived experience can help the document in terms of tone and really helps it come to life – when this hasn’t been the case we’ve had to give feedback on the lack of warmth and empathy and the policy can be too formal
  • People will want to know what they are entitled too – yet the sensitive nature of the topic means it’s important to compose this in a sensitive and considered way, so its holistic 
  • Be aware of cold language for this topic – it’s essential for this life event, like you would approach policies about
  • Inclusive policies are key – ensuring Intended Parents are referred to in policy, be careful about referring to those going down the surrogacy route that they’re not signposted to the Adoption policy. 
  • Understand who is impacted by Surrogacy 
  • How to support the Childless not by Choice community – recognise that fertility treatment doesn’t always result in a baby. Ensure that those people are recognised in terms of their experiences and signposted to support. 
  • Making provisions clear in terms of leave for appointments and will it be paid, ensure practical elements are included
  • Hard to say average amount. We’ve seen a variety of days given and we advise there to be some flexibility that it doesn’t just have to be in days but it can also be in hours. 
  • There can be non-financial things done as well. 
  • Peppy Findings aimed to highlight what was going in terms of access – in relation to the cost of living crisis, the stresses within the access to funding on the NHS and the impact on people’s lives. 
  • More people are aware of fertility issues and how that’s not just about IVF but also PCOS and Endometriosis and the impact on the workplace 
  • How that is relevant to employers to understand the length of time people have been dealing with fertility issues and how that affects them at work. 
  • Findings show the amount of time on average people are needing for time off – just over 7 days for those going through treatment
  • Importance of recognising this issue isn’t going away as fertility rates are on the decline
  • How more men are speaking out about the impact it has on them
  • The impact on the LGBTQ+ community 
  • Fertility impacts a vast number of people so policies need to support different patient groups 

Thanks to our sponsor Apricity Fertility

Fertility Matters
@ Work

Becky, Claire & Natalie

We are dedicated to raising awareness of fertility issues in the workplace, educating companies about the reality of IVF at work and the support that is needed.

Find out more about us

Free Resource Library

Download resources including Seven ways your organisation can become more 'fertility friendly' and Preparing to talk to your workplace about fertility treatment