How to support single parent employees in the workplace?

Single parents need more support from employers - both when trying to have a child and when taking care of them.

Author: Zoya Ali BSc MSc

Deciding to become a parent is a huge decision, filled with uncertainties, even more so if someone is doing it on their own. Fertility technology such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) & in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) has opened doors for those pursuing a solo parenthood route beyond adoption.

Although most people assume that choosing to go solo is because someone may not have found the right partner or things their biological clock might be ticking away, in 2018, single parents actually accounted for 55% of all egg freezing cycles, showing that it might not always be the case. More future parents are choosing to undergo this journey by themselves – HFEA data showed an increase in IVF use by single parents from 41% in 2008 to 57% in 2018.

How can you support employees choosing the single parent route?

1. Destigmatise reproductive health conditions  

Normalise the discussion around & the prioritisation of reproductive health in the workplace by encouraging education and learning at all levels.

2. Establish flexible work schedule & supportive workplace environment  

Fertility treatment often needs multiple clinic visits and appointments. Providing a flexible work schedule can help employees optimise their productivity while prioritising their health.

3. Provide mental wellbeing support 

Fertility treatment, in general, can be emotionally, physically and financially challenging, but choosing to do it solo might add to additional stress. Employees are exposed to stigma from society and have to bear the financial burden of treatment cycles alone.

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

4. Direct them to legal counselling 

Going solo can have the additional stress of dealing with the legalities of using donor gametes. The fertility clinic is usually responsible for explaining the legal implications before proceeding with treatment; however, should the need arise, you could enable access to appropriate resources to direct employees to.

5.  Help cover  the costs or broker 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.