Navigating the Conversation: Discussing Fertility with Your Manager

Published: 24/11/2023

Fertility is a deeply personal and often sensitive topic that many individuals face at some point in their lives. Balancing the demands of work with the emotional and physical challenges of fertility treatments can be overwhelming. 

Deciding whether to tell your employer you are having fertility treatment can be difficult especially when you need to ask for time off. 

What are the concerns with speaking about fertility to a manager?

It is common for individuals to have concerns about telling their employers about trying for a baby, this may be for a number of reasons including:

  • Employers may not take their infertility seriously - often due to lack of education/understanding around the topic. 
  • Confidentiality may be breached. 
  • Letting their employers know that they are trying to conceive may adversely affect their career path.

It is important to remember that despite having preconceptions about speaking to work about this topic, fostering open communication with your manager can help create a supportive work environment during this journey. 

What are the rules in UK for time off for fertility? 

In the UK There is currently no statutory right to have time off but there are ways that you can approach your employer. 

Time off for medical appointments related to infertility should be treated in the same way as any other medical appointment under your employer’s policy. This is the same for sickness, sick absence related to treatment for infertility will be covered by your employer’s sickness policy. 

It is important to keep your employer informed about ongoing treatment for infertility if you choose to tell them, but this does not give your employer the right to ask intrusive questions. 

Some tips on speaking to your manager about fertility

  1. Time and Setting - choosing the right time and setting for the conversation is important. Schedule a private chat with your manager to discuss personal matters and make sure you have their full attention. 
  2. Be prepared - familiarise yourself with your company's fertility policy and leave policy so you have information before going to the meeting. 
  3. Plan solutions - focus on potential solutions to discuss that will allow you to maintain productivity. If this is flexible working, or working from home think about how this set up would look like within your team and show your manager you have thought it through. 
  4. Address concerns - be open to discussing where challenges could arise for productivity and workload - assure your manager you will maintain a transparent line of communication so they can help where possible. 
  5. Seek support - familiarise yourself with support available within the organisation - if you have access to myTamarin fertility support you will have access to experts who will guide you through all areas of your fertility journey. 

Being open with your manager could help lessen the stress you might feel from having to hide appointments from your manager and team. By approaching the conversation with transparency, and a focus on solutions, you can create a supportive work environment that allows you to navigate the complexities of fertility while continuing to excel in your professional role. 

Remember that your well-being is important, and seeking understanding and support in the workplace is a positive step toward achieving a harmonious balance between your personal and professional life.

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