Supporting Employees on Complex Fertility Journeys

Supporting Employees on Complex Fertility Journeys
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We take a look at recent developments and guidance that has emerged to support employers navigating this important topic.

We previously published an article about the Workplace Fertility Pledge, an entirely voluntary scheme that employers could sign up to in which they pledged to offer support to individuals and couples going through fertility treatment.

Now the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, has launched a guide to employers on how to offer workplace support.

The guidance draws together the work of others, such as Manchester Metropolitan University and Fertility Matters at Work.

What Support Can Employers Put in Place?

Fertility treatment varies and so do the needs and wishes of those going through it, but for those looking at what they can do in their organisation, it’s a useful starting point to review Manchester Metropolitan University’s list of various factors that those undergoing fertility treatment may be dealing with:

  • attending multiple (sometimes daily) clinic appointments – often arranged with little notice
  • finding the time and privacy to take sensitive phone calls from the clinic during the working day, coupled with the anxiety of waiting for, and potentially missing, important updates
  • storing medication (which may require refrigeration) at work and finding a clean and private place to inject medication
  • ‘cycles of hope and grief’- the challenge of receiving difficult news at work and managing the significant emotional transition if treatment is unsuccessful
  • potential strain on relationships both inside and outside work
  • financial pressures if funding treatment privately

As an employer, this list is really pause for thought. Supporting employees through this journey makes good sense, not only because it’s the right thing to do from a human, compassionate perspective but also because you can work with that employee to help them to continue to be effective in their role in a planned way, rather than them staying silent and trying to muddle through.

There’s lots an organisation can do, from educating managers and employees, introducing a policy and allowing flexibility for those undergoing treatment.


The CIPD has helpfully included their Fertility Journey Policy, which is worth a read for those thinking of implementing their own policy.

Fertility Matters at Work is also a great resource for employers who are searching for information on how they better equip their organisation to support employees who are on a complex fertility journey.

For further information on this topic, please contact Sarah Martin in our team on 07799 136091.