We Need to Talk about Fertility at Work

October 28, 2019


Some sobering stats for you here: 1 in 6 couples across the world experience fertility issues (source: World Fertility Day), and there are 1.5 million treatments given annually to assist in conception (source: International Federation of Fertility Societies). Today marks the start of National Fertility Awareness Week in the UK, and we have been working with Fertility Network UK to uncover the realities of what these fertility challenges can mean for employees and employers alike.

Looking at the impact on working lives, in the UK alone over 50,000 people begin fertility treatments every year, resulting in one in five people reducing their work hours or quitting their job during treatment (source: Fertility Network UK).

I wrote about my own personal experiences of holding back from telling a previous employer about my own struggles, until my third miscarriage broke my silence. I have been overwhelmed by the positive response received on the platform and am pleased to see it’s triggered further LinkedIn discussion around the topic.

The challenge of balancing the mental and physical demands of fertility treatment, with the obligations of day to day work are all too real for professionals the world over. We conducted research to delve into the attitudes and experiences of people who had gone through this, and have uncovered some pretty unsettling findings:

  • Less than half of workers with fertility struggles felt supported at work

  • Almost 1 in 5 (17%) workers who didn’t discuss their fertility issues with their employer said this was due to fears it would hinder their career prospects

  • 39% of UK workers didn’t discuss their miscarriage with an employer, and 19% only did reluctantly

We hope that with the launch of this research, we will drive awareness and understanding of what tens of thousands of people are going through every single day. 

LinkedIn are encouraging members to post about their experiences in order to help lift the stigma of talking about fertility struggles at work.

Please join the conversation on LinkedIn using the hashtag #FertilityAtWork.