One in four (24%) women who disclosed that they were undergoing fertility treatment reported facing unfair treatment at work as a result, according to research from Pregnant Then Screwed.
The analysis, which was carried out in partnership with Women In Data and launched to coincide with Infertility Awareness Week (23 to 29 April 2023), found that 43% of women going through fertility treatment told their boss, and 24% who revealed this did not get any support from their employer.
Almost one in three (29%) women in full-time employment who experienced pregnancy loss told their employer, with 22% reporting unfair treatment following this, and 23% finding their employer to be unsupportive. Just 6% of those who revealed that their partner had experienced this loss faced any negative treatment.
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Joeli Brearley, founder of Pregnant Then Screwed, said: “We are seeing an increasing number of calls to our helpline from women who experience discrimination in the workplace as a result of reproductive health issues.
“Going through the unknowns of fertility treatment, or the utter heartbreak of baby loss, can be excruciating for many women. That pain and emotional trauma is compounded by hostile employers who discriminate against women for wanting a baby.
“Women are incredibly vulnerable at this time, and they need support from their employer, rather than prejudice. And employers should be very aware that this type of behaviour is unlawful and could land them in court if they are not careful.”
Natalie Sutherland, co-host of podcast In/Fertility in the City, and partner at Burgess Mee, added: “If only these statistics were surprising. To create workplace cultures which support those on less traditional or straightforward paths to parenthood, this issue needs to be brought into the open and employers must be encouraged and supported to have a meaningful understanding of pregnancy loss and fertility treatment and the impact they can have on their people both at home and at work.”