Infertility in the workplace
More than a third of U.S. adults say they have used fertility treatments or know someone who has.
By and large, infertility, and the treatment(s), are sadly stigmatized in the workplace with little or no understanding or compassion for those undergoing these invasive, traumatic, and often highly emotional procedures. In addition, many types of discrimination, such as microaggression, rudeness, and hostility, begin as soon as the expectant mother announces her pregnancy or the intention to become pregnant. I was stunned to learn at @pinnacle how many physicians were afraid to convey their pregnancy status to their peers. This is wrong.
The lack of support from many managers, both male and female, increases the already high emotional impact of the procedures. In addition, oftentimes, there is no support for time away from the office or other place of work to receive treatment. Definitive procedures for dealing with infertility and related fertility issues is lacking in many industries. Often times, the subject is addressed on a “case by case basis.” While individual attention is admirable, without guidelines, there is an opportunity for discrimination and bias.
While some advances have been made in this field, there is still a lot of work to be done. No person should feel stigmatized for seeking fertility treatment when they are already undergoing such extreme mental, emotional, physical, and financial stress.
The paradigm needs to shift and shift now.
Specialized initiatives that assist the workplace in dealing with the individual in a fair and compassionate manner is critical. Our colleagues in the UK have been shown this serves to alleviate the additional stress often accrued by sidestepping an unsupportive manager or co-worker.