Here’s a comprehensive list.
Fertility is an issue that impacts far more people than you may first think. Experiencing a fertility journey doesn’t just affect your colleagues’ home lives. It affects their work life and your business too. Francesca Steyn, Peppy’s Director of Fertility Services and Chair of the Royal College of Nursing Fertility Nurses’ Forum says: “Considering that 1 in 6 couples will be affected by fertility issues it makes sense to be the kind of company that offers support and flexibility. Finding employers who will support their personal plans has become a priority for your potential staff”.
Here, we’ve rounded up the diverse groups in your workforce who are affected by fertility issues, and the kind of support and information they need.
People who are considering parenthood
Knowledge about reproductive cycles and an in-depth understanding of how it all works when it comes to conceiving is often lacking. An estimated 1 in 2 couples are trying to conceive at the wrong time. But, you can empower your employees, so they understand their bodies and their options. Signpost trusted, expert-written information and resources via the Peppy app. These include Quick Answer videos, Understanding Your Body programmes and access to one-to-one chat with a highly qualified fertility expert. The right support can help empower them with knowledge, also breaking down the stigma that surrounds reproductive issues and fertility in general.
People who have reproductive conditions
If women in the workforce suffer from reproductive conditions, they don’t tend to make it common knowledge. Yet, 1 in 10 women have endometriosis, and 1 in 5 have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). These common reproductive conditions can take years to diagnose and be incredibly painful and debilitating for those they affect. Offer support that raises awareness of these issues and helps employees get the help they need to diagnose, manage and treat their condition. Give your employees free, unlimited access to confidential virtual support that connects them to fertility experts who can advise and support them one-on-one. We found that when employers supported their people with Peppy Fertility, 96% felt less isolated and more understood.
People trying to conceive
Trying to conceive can be a stressful, all-encompassing stage of a couple’s life. Fertility problems affect 1 in 6 couples in the UK. 90% of men and women struggling with fertility issues experience feelings of depression. Due to people often trying for a family later, IVF is on the rise. This process can be overwhelming both physically and mentally. With NHS wait times at a record high, there couldn’t be a better time for employers to step up and support their employees through their fertility journey. Connect your people via the Peppy app with specialist fertility experts who can answer any questions or concerns that crop up confidentially. Also offer flexibility so they can go to appointments and cope with the disruption of IVF treatment. This way, work becomes one worry they can cross of their list at a time of great anxiety.
People coping with miscarriage and loss
With 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage or loss, it’s an experience that is massively traumatic, both physically and emotionally, with long-term feelings of grief and loss. Says Francesca: “A lot of people don’t tell their employer when they have a miscarriage because they just don’t know what to say and there can often be feelings of shame”. Being able to support staff and colleagues through their loss means knowing what you’re talking about when it comes to why miscarriage happens, how best to get through it and the kind of help that really makes a difference.
Give staff paid time off after a miscarriage, as well as access to counselling and a support group. This can be through work (in person or virtually), or through Peppy group chat and live broadcast group events. Help and understanding through miscarriage and baby loss will foster a relationship of trust and support between you and your staff.
Your LGBTQ+ community
In the past 5 years, the number of same-sex families has grown by over 50%. And LGBTQ+ staff have a much higher chance of needing support when starting or growing a family. Says Francesca: “As conception often involves fertility treatments as well as donor sperm, donor eggs or surrogacy, it’s huge journey in terms of mental and physical challenges. It’s also tricky to find the right information”. Any fertility support offered by your workplace should include specific support for your LGBTQ+ colleagues. Also, confidentiality is an absolute must, especially as affected staff may not have come out to their employer or colleagues. Knowing this support is provided by their employer will give your LGBTQ+ staff reassurance over their personal plans as well as practical help and information.
Men in your workforce
Infertility issues are due to male-factor infertility 40-50% of the time. With men of working age less likely to actively seek out health checks or see their GP than women, they are less likely to speak up about fertility problems. There’s a damaging connection between fertility and masculinity and it can have a huge impact on their relationship. And in all cases of infertility, partners are impacted even if they’re not physically affected, yet often feel they can’t talk about it. Offer free, unlimited access to virtual support targeted at men specifically and connect them to fertility experts. Extend that support to partners too. Being able to talk confidentially and access expert help will reduce feelings of shame and helplessness, so they are better able to cope with their fertility journey.
It’s impossible to know for sure when members of your workforce are living through the trauma of fertility issues, but it’s safe to assume there will be many in that position. Being a progressive, forward-thinking company makes offering wide-ranging fertility support a no-brainer. It will only serve to enhance your relationship with your employees.
- Experiencing a fertility journey doesn’t just impact your colleagues’ home lives, it impacts their work life, and your business too.
- In some cases, paid leave and flexibility will be required to enable staff to cope with treatments and loss.
- Many of the groups affected by fertility issues will want to keep it private, so offer confidential support.