Going through the IVF process can be stressful, as it’s emotionally and physically challenging. Having a strong support network in place before, during and after treatment, can help to significantly reduce stress and increase the chances of success with IVF.  

How can employers support their employees who are going through IVF?

Employees who are supported at work will be less prone to stress-related illness and more able to cope with the demands of their job. Yet, despite an increase in people going through IVF, many workplaces are not supportive.

According to the 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey, ‘47% of companies have no supportive policies for employees struggling with infertility’ and ‘only 2% of line managers had been trained on fertility issues and how to address these conversations.’

Many work-related issues, arising from employees going through infertility treatment, could be avoided, if employers:

·      Have a clear and supportive workplace fertility policy in place. This will ensure that employers and employees know where they stand from the outset and it makes conversations and action more straightforward. It also reduces the likelihood of discrimination or confusion. It is good for recruitment and retention too.

·     Ensure that their line managers are aware of how fertility treatment may affect employees. Knowledge and awareness of what is involved with IVF, including the physical and emotional impact, can reduce the risk of insensitivity. It can also help to avoid discrimination or disciplinary action.

·      Make reasonable adjustments, where necessary. This may include offering flexible working hours for appointments, time off for sickness (without triggering disciplinary action) less physically strenuous tasks and reduced exposure to chemicals in the workplace. It can also include greater patience and tolerance.

·     Ensure that the colleagues of the person going through IVF are aware that the adjustments are due to medical reasons and approved by management. This reduces the risk of conflict or accusations of unfair treatment and makes for a more harmonious work environment for everyone.

Where else is support available from?

As well as talking to friends and family, it’s advisable to speak to a counsellor before going through IVF, as well as during and afterwards, if further support is needed. There are counsellors trained to work with IVF patients, who understand the physical and emotional challenges involved. If you need support, you can speak to your GP to be referred.

Some companies have their own counsellors that they may be able to refer employees to, for support.

There are a number of support groups available too, if it helps to speak to others who are going through IVF, or who have been through it before.  

Friends supporting each other

Here, at The IVF Network, we understand the importance of equality, for everyone experiencing fertility issues and treatment. To help people to make informed choices, we provide a wide range of information, through our dedicated channel of experts, our website and our blog posts.

We believe that education is the key to supporting both employees and employers. To increase awareness in the corporate world, we work with companies, to help them to create or improve their fertility policies. We also support them with implementation, offering workshops for line managers and employees, to increase their understanding of the impact of fertility treatment within our diverse community. Together, we can make a difference.


‘The 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey: do UK workplaces offer sufficient support for employees on their fertility journeys?

The 2023 Workplace Infertility Stigma Survey: do UK workplaces offer sufficient support for employees on their fertility journeys?