It can be a long and uncertain road for employees experiencing difficulties conceiving, trying to have or grow a family. It is often emotionally draining, socially challenging and financially tough. There can be significant impacts on someone’s mental and physical health. Managing these impacts alongside employment can be extremely difficult without an understanding manager. Supporting an employee who has experienced these difficulties requires compassion, flexibility and sensitivity. 

By ‘fertility challenges, investigations or treatment’ we mean any employee experiencing difficulties conceiving, or undergoing any investigations or type of treatment for fertility, or supporting a partner who is undergoing investigations or treatment. It’s not just women who may require support; fertility issues are just as likely to affect men. It’s also important to remember that the partner of someone experiencing fertility challenges is also likely to need support.

An employee is more likely to talk to you about their situation if you already have a good relationship with them and have built an environment that is open, respectful, kind, fair and consistent, in which people feel ‘psychologically safe’. Psychological safety is where people feel they can speak up and share concerns, questions or ideas freely without being criticised or made to feel ‘wrong’ for doing so. 

This guide provides advice on how to manage and support employees experiencing fertility challenges, investigations or treatment. How you respond as a manager will make a big difference to how effectively your team member will be able to fulfil their role and how supported they feel. 

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