Greater Support in the Workplace Needed
When it comes to health and wellbeing, there are many policies set up in the workplace, but that often doesn’t include fertility issues and treatment, something the Harley Street Fertility Clinic believes needs to change.
As the annual Fertility Awareness Week takes place between 29thOctober – 04thNovember, the team at the central London clinic are calling for greater support in the workplace for people who are undergoing fertility treatment or who are involuntarily childless.
While fertility issues affect millions of people in the UK, it is still very much a grey area for employers who are often out of touch and do not have the same clear guidelines as health matters such as long-term sickness and maternity leave.
It is hoped that by focusing on ‘Fertility at Work’ during the awareness raising week, the need for more open lines of communication, better support and greater understanding, will be discussed, and changes can start to be made. Ensuring HR teams and managers are aware of the implications fertility issues can have on employees, female and male, is vital, as is an open-door policy so that plans can be made, and worries eased.
Dr Suvir Venkataraman BEng (Hons), PhD, General Manager at the Harley Street Fertility Clinic, said, “Trying to get pregnant using fertility treatments can be extremely stressful and time consuming, and the more supportive employers are, the better. At our clinic we equip patients with the knowledge they need to embrace their fertility journey, but we know that many of them struggle at work because of the lack of policy and understanding, and we would like to see this change across the board.”
He added, “Time off for appointments, more flexible working patterns or sensitivity to birth announcements, might seem small, but these considerations can make a massive difference to employees who are either having fertility treatment or coming to terms with infertility. An open-door policy and knowing that being able to talk to managers and HR personnel, about issues, time off and concerns, without the need to be embarrassed or fear disciplinary action, is important too. We hope that in time, fertility at work will be acknowledge and all companies will have the appropriate plans in place to ensure people no longer feel ashamed, alone or upset when they are at work.”
The clinic will be holding a ‘Fertili-tea Party’ cake sale on Friday 2ndNovember to raise funds for The Fertility Network and World Fertility Day.
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