Following the reading of the ‘Fertility Treatment: Employment rights Bill’read in parliament on 20th June 2022 by Nickie Aiken MP, Fertility Matters At Work’s (FMAW) has unveiled a new report that uncovers alarming statistics from employees facing fertility issues in the UK, specifically in regards to employment policies and support structures in place to meet their needs¹.  

Currently, there is no provision to support those going through fertility treatment. The Private Member’s Bill (PMB) will focus on introducing employment rights specifically for fertility treatment, in particular, statutory rights for time off to attend appointments. 

Almost three-quarters of those going through fertility treatment said they felt fertility was not recognised and valued as a topic in their organisation (72%), and 61% did not feel confident talking to their employer about trying for a baby. This is despite 50,000 people going through fertility treatment each year² and fertility rates globally declining³ – making it highly likely that most organisations will have employees experience fertility issues. 

One in four (25%) say they have experienced negative encounters with their employer on fertility, citing that they felt unsupported and unable to talk to their employer openly and honestly about their fertility struggles. This is something that employers should be acutely aware of as the ‘Fertility Treatment: Employment rights Bill’ gains traction. 

FMAW comments on the proposed PMB: “We’re encouraging organisations to start supporting their employees now, before the PMB on IVF is legislated, by implementing policies, raising awareness, starting a conversation about this taboo topic, and educating their employees and managers to become Fertility Friendly. 

“In doing this, it will signal to current and prospective employees that the organisation is current in its offer around wellbeing and employee engagement and is also serious about protecting their attraction and retention agenda. More and more people will be accessing treatment in the future, and to get ahead of the curve of competitors, this must be built into workforce plans.

Dealing with infertility and its treatment is both physically and emotionally demanding, and it can be particularly stressful and anxiety-inducing for those going through IVF treatment whilst in employment. This stress can be heightened further if workplaces do not have appropriate policies and support structures. 

The study by FMAW found that a staggering 42% of respondents had no idea where to turn to find out what support was in place at their organisation to help them through treatment whilst at work, and over a third of those facing fertility issues considered leaving their job whilst going through treatment (36%). 

If organisations implemented policies and educated their employees and managers on being Fertility Friendly, it could transform a person’s whole experience of going through fertility issues whilst at work. The FMAW report reveals that 69% of respondents had taken time off sick to deal with their fertility journey. The new IVF law could reduce an organisation’s absence levels and would mean that employees would not have to take whole days of annual leave to cover a morning appointment. 

Ultimately, the ‘Fertility Treatment: Employment rights Bill’ could end secrecy among employers and employees, provide structured guidance for line managers, lower employee absence levels, and encourage better staff engagement and retention. 

FMAW adds: “Not offering the appropriate support for those facing fertility issues is a vicious cycle. With workplaces not recognising it as an issue, no one feels they can talk about it, and because they don’t talk about it, it’s not seen as an issue. It’s more common than workplaces think – 1 in 7 individuals and 1 in 6 couples in the UK, all of working age, regardless of sexuality or ethnic background, can go through fertility issues. It also significantly affects mental health in the workplace.”

“This bill is a great first step in supporting employees going through such a difficult period of their life. However, this bill alone won’t be enough for full protection, as though the right to attend appointments will be supported, there still won’t be protection against dismissal. This is why organisations across the UK need to step up, introduce appropriate support structures and policies, and end the vicious cycle.”

For more insight on how to become a Fertility Friendly organisation and for more information on the FMAW 2022 survey findings, please visit: 


  1. All findings retrieved from Fertility Matters At Work’s recent patient survey conducted at The Fertility Show 2022 using 200 respondents – all of which are navigating their fertility journey in the workplace or had done so in the past. 


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