Hertility Answers: What is infertility and how to support employees?

Author: Zoya Ali BSc Msc

As the reproductive health revolution is making its way to the workplace, “Hertility Answers” addresses queries from human resources, rewards and benefits managers on all things women’s health.

What is infertility?

Infertility is classified by the World Health Organisation as a reproductive health disease and defined by the inability to get pregnant after 12 months or more of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse.

Still a hushed conversation, infertility is far more common than some might realise. With 1 in 7 heterosexual couples in the UK facing fertility issues and the rates steadily increasing, demand for fertility and family forming benefits is exploding.

Experiencing fertility issues can have a physical, mental and social impact on your employees. A recent study found that 68% of employees would change jobs to ensure fertility treatment coverage, this rose to 90% if someone had previously experienced fertility issues.

Here are some ways in which you can support employees through their journey.

How can you support employees battling infertility?

  1. Destigmatize reproductive health conditions 

Normalise the discussion around reproductive health and promote the importance of health in the workplace by encouraging education and learning. You can read more about strategies to implement this in your workplace here.

2. Flexible work schedule & supportive workplace environment

Fertility treatment often needs multiple clinic visits and appointments which may not always go ahead as planned. Providing a flexible work schedule can help employees optimise their productivity while prioritising their health. Signposting support for reproductive journeys can reduce unnecessary stress and show solidarity.

3. Mental wellbeing support

A recent survey found that 55% of people rated infertility more stressful than unemployment, while 88% of employees who felt unsupported during fertility treatment had left or considered leaving their job.

Partnering with organisations that provide fertility counselling can support your employees during this period of emotional turmoil.

4. Consider partial coverage of the costs or brokering access to a low-cost loan

NHS funded fertility treatment cycles are often a maze filled with strict eligibility criteria and long wait times. The cost of private treatment can vary significantly, but on average, a cycle can cost £5,000 or more, almost comparable to a deposit on a house! 

About Hertility Health

Hertility Health is shaping the future of Reproductive Health by giving women the ability to understand and manage their fertility and hormone health from menstruation to menopause. 1 in 3 women suffer with a reproductive health issue, yet conversations around fertility, menopause and menstrual symptoms are still stigmatised in the workplace. As employees suffer in silence – up to £4k is lost per year per employee due to reduced productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism.

To learn more about our Reproductive Health Education and Benefits for Employers, reach out to [email protected] or visit our website