Founded to build ‘supportive, open and integrated support systems’ for employees with fertility needs
A not-for-profit initiative focused on fertility and family wellbeing in the workplace has been launched by Fertifa.
Created to ‘break down the taboo' surrounding fertility issues and to encourage employee action around reproductive health, the Workplace Fertility Community is steered by a group that includes Gwenda Burns, CEO at Fertility Network, Helen Burgess, partner at Shoosmiths, Bruce Eaton, director at Heath Pulse Services, Helen Beedham, writer, speaker and fertility ambassador and Hortense Thorpe, procurement business partner at Centrica and founder of Centrica Fertility Group.
"We understand that for many employers taking the first steps towards building a supportive, open dialogue and integrated support system for employees can feel like a mountain to climb," said Fertifa. "The community was founded to offer its members free access to peer networking opportunities, a series of educational events and both informal and formal support on any questions related to workplace fertility."
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, one in six couples - or 3.5 million people - have experienced fertility challenges, while data from the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority shows over 70,000 IVF cycles are carried out each year in the UK.
There is also a need among LGBT+ employees, who would like to start a family will need donor conception, surrogacy or adoption support, the community said, and 90% of individuals encountering fertility issues experience some level of depression and 43% feel suicidal, according to the Fertility Network.
Absenteeism and productivity
Employee fertility issues can have a knock-on effect on absenteeism too and the breakdown of barriers can increase productivity, Fertifa added. "Offering guidance on fertility challenges, which often disproportionately impact women in the workplace, also positively supports the corporate agenda and regulatory frameworks around gender balance and diversity and inclusion," it said.
"It helps to create a more caring organisation and signals a strong focus on employee wellbeing. Companies attract top talents and initiatives help to support the retention of existing employees."
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