Survey by Fertifa and Fertility Network UK reveals full extent of the mental health impact on workplace performance and job satisfaction
PRESS RELEASE: 4 November 2021
Fertifa, a leading provider of fertility, menopause and family-forming benefits and Fertility Network UK, the nation’s leading patient-focused fertility charity, have released the results of a workplace survey which explores the impact of fertility challenges upon working life.
Mental health impact
The survey, which was answered solely by working women and men who are either experiencing fertility struggles or have in the past, reveals that nine out of ten people suffer with a combination of anxiety (91%), stress (89%) and depression (88%).
This in turn has a marked effect on workplace performance. 56% experienced decreased job satisfaction while trying to conceive and 38% had seriously considered leaving their job – or had in fact quit.
63% of respondents admitted to reduced engagement at work and 36% had to take increased sickness absence.
Katie Beck, CEO of Fertifa, says: “I know from personal experience that the process of trying to conceive and going through fertility treatment can be all-consuming and have a significant impact on your working life, so sadly, these results aren’t surprising. If employers can show that they support individuals through this process it’s a win on both sides, with long term loyalty and retention benefits for businesses.”
48% of people going through fertility treatment report significant financial worries. With the average cost of a cycle of IVF standing at £3,500 and the chances of success just one in three, the costs can really mount up, leading to serious debt and worries about future security.
Gwenda Burns, CEO of Fertility Network UK says: “Infertility affects 3.5 million men and women across the UK, which equates to one in six couples. The demographics of those people impacted by fertility issues mean they are likely to form a core element of every employer’s workforce. It is therefore vital that employers are able to support those impacted, so levels of distress associated with fertility treatment are reduced and employees are more likely to be productive and remain in the workplace.”
Signs of change
Almost 80% of people did inform their employer about their fertility journey, suggesting that the workplace taboo is starting to break. However, 60% of the survey respondents were not honest about the time taken off for appointments and fertility-related illness. This indicates that there is still work to be done with getting workplace policies right and in instilling a culture of openness so that employees needn’t feel guilty about taking the time they need to get their treatment.
Katie Beck adds: “It is encouraging that there has been a gradual increase in understanding on the employer side. We’ve seen many more businesses come forward in the past twelve months, announcing that they have introduced a new fertility policy or some level of workplace support. As awareness and uptake continues to grow, we would expect to see clear improvements in these survey results.”
You can read the full survey results here – https://www.fertifa.com/employers/fertility-in-the-workplace
Notes to editor
Fertifa is a leading provider of fertility, family-forming and menopause benefits to companies across the UK.
Fertility benefits have been a common feature of benefit packages in the US for several years now, but Fertifa was the first UK company to bring the concept to the UK market. Although it is still a relatively new idea over here, businesses large and small are increasingly seeing the value of bridging the workplace wellness gap and offering an inclusive and comprehensive level of support for anyone struggling with fertility issues, regardless of gender, relationship status or sexuality.
Following the early success of its fertility benefits offering, Fertifa recently expanded its services to deliver support for other key life stages, including a clinically-led menopause package, which connects employees with specialist doctors, nurses and advisors.
Fertifa’s benefits programme is tailored to a company’s demographic, size and budget. It works with companies to:
- Raise awareness of fertility, family-forming and menopause challenges at the workplace
- Engage employees to be proactive about their reproductive health
- Support and mentor employees in their quest to build families
- Provide fertility testing and treatment for any employee that requires it
- Connect employees directly with medical experts, cutting out long wait times and thereby reducing stress
First and foremost, Fertifa is a purpose-led business. It was founded by a passionate team who experienced their own fertility struggles and who genuinely want to change things for the better. They want to break the silence in the workplace around these issues, normalise conversations and enable access to best-in-class care.
About Fertility Network UK
Fertility Network UK is the nation’s leading patient-focused fertility charity providing practical and emotional support, information, and advice for anyone experiencing fertility issues. The charity works to raise the profile and understanding of fertility issues and to push for timely and equitable provision of fertility treatment throughout the UK.
Fertility Network UK provides a free and impartial Support Line 0121 323 5025
Fertility Network UK provides Workplace Lunch and Learn Workshops and Policy consultation
Fertility Network UK supports anyone experiencing fertility problems. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by visiting www.justgiving.com/infertilitynetwork
For media enquiries:
Jo Roberts Catherine Hill
Head of Marketing, Fertifa Communications Manager Fertility Network UK