14 Sept 2023

With 3.5 million people in the UK affected by inferility, the Fawcett Society has partnered with TotalJobs to conduct a new study exploring how employers can better support women's careers and create fertility-friendly workplaces.

Read Paths to Parenthood: Navigating Fertility at Work, an employer's guide.

The research shows that:

  • HR leaders recognise the importance of offering more fertility support, but over three quarters (77%) have encountered challenges to implement across the business.
  • Four in five women (80%) claim it's important for workplaces to facilitate open and safe conversations around fertility.
  • Over half (59%) of those going through fertility treatment have kept it secret from senior colleagues, despite 92% needing to take time off for treatment.
  • Men undergoing fertility treatment find it easier to access support materials at work than their female colleagues (69% vs 62%).

Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, said:

At the Fawcett Society, we believe in workplaces that work for all women, at every stage of our careers and lives. This report shows unequivocally that women, and especially minoritised women, feel the impact of fertility treatment on their ability to progress at work, but that supportive workplaces can make a huge difference in ensuring that women don't need to choose between their job and their desire for children. Creating an environment which supports workers going through fertility treatment will result in happier staff, better retention, and better progression of talented women, all of which ultimately leads to an improved gender pay gap and more flourishing staff.

We call on business and government to ensure that women are not left behind at work because of fertility treatment, with policies that prioritise flexibility and compassion.

Jane Lorigan, Managing Director TotalJobs Group added:

Getting treatment for fertility issues impacts every aspect of someone's life. Starting conversations at work can be sensitive to broach but employers that offer comprehensive and compassionate support can not only make the process easier to death with but foster a better workplace for everyone.

The subject of infertility remains a sensitive one, and the research shows us that a lack of awareness is one of the root causes behind employers not taking action or offering more support. Through our work with the Fawcett Society, we want to empower employers to provide optimal assistance to their staff, helping them to foster a fertility-friendly environment that not only draws in top-tier talent but also cultivates their success.

Help create workplaces that work for women.