How to support employees struggling with infertility

How to support employees struggling with infertility

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 6 people are affected by infertility globally — that’s about 17.5% of the adult population. WHO’s research suggests that infertility is prevalent across all regions, regardless of income status or other identifiers. The simple truth is that infertility doesn’t discriminate, and there’s a good chance it’s impacting someone in your company. When you look at the mental health impact of infertility and the fact that most treatments are self-funded and extremely expensive, it’s easy to see there’s a need to offer support via fertility benefits for employees.

Wondering how to support employees who are dealing with fertility issues? Offering employer fertility benefits is just one way among many that you can support. Continue reading to learn more about how infertility can impact your company and what you can do about it. 

The connection between fertility issues and mental health

It’s well-known that fertility challenges can have a profound impact on mental well-being. Research shows that infertility can cause mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. One large study found the following of respondents: 

  • More than half of women surveyed (56%) experienced significant symptoms of depression related to infertility
  • More than three-quarters of women surveyed (76%) experienced significant symptoms of anxiety related to infertility

The effects on the workplace

When employees struggle with infertility, the effects often extend far beyond personal lives and relationships. The impact can also seep into their professional world, influencing performance, well-being, and overall morale. 

Poor mental health in the workplace can result in decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, higher rates of turnover, and lower job satisfaction, among other things. 

Fertility issues can impact the workplace through:

  • Decreased productivity: Stress, anxiety, and depression related to infertility can make focusing on work and being productive increasingly challenging. 
  • Increased absenteeism: Poor mental health stemming from infertility can lead to missed days of work. An uptick in doctor’s visits and treatments also contributes to increased absences. 
  • Mental health challenges: An increase in stress, anxiety, and depression — all of which are linked to infertility — can alter job performance and productivity levels. 
  • Lower job satisfaction: Infertility can lead to decreased motivation and a lack of satisfaction, even in once-fulfilling jobs. 
  • Higher healthcare costs: The cost of fertility treatment can be exorbitant for many couples. 
  • Increased turnover: High treatment costs might even lead some to seek employment with companies that offer fertility coverage.
  • Work-life balance struggles: Work-life balance can be difficult under the best circumstances, but when life feels consumed by the constant stress of being unable to start or grow a family, it can feel next to impossible. 
  • Impact on team dynamics: Low individual morale — which can be typical for anyone dealing with the pain of infertility — can expand across teams and organizations. 

6 Ways employers can support employees with infertility

Fortunately, you can offset most of these effects by offering mental health support and fertility benefits for employees. The time, resources, and efforts you put into helping those dealing with infertility can pay off with surprisingly little financial strain. One study found that nearly all employers who offer IVF benefits (97%) saw no significant increase in cost. 

There are many ways to implement support in an organization — it doesn’t just mean offering insurance coverage. Here are a few options that can better the lives and fertility journeys of your employees.

Offer mental health support

We’ve already established that dealing with infertility can take an emotional toll. Offering mental health services is a simple but effective way you can help employees navigate their fertility journey. Online therapy platforms like Talkspace make therapy for employees accessible, easy, and affordable. Partnering with Talkspace means everyone on your team has a safe place to get support.

Encourage employee resource groups (ERGs)

Employee research groups (ERGs) can benefit those facing fertility challenges by creating sympathetic workplace communities that can reduce feelings of isolation and offer compassion. 

ERGs provide a place for employees to share and receive support on sensitive topics, such as IVF treatment and adoption assistance, without the need to discuss their personal information publicly. Encouraging the formation of these groups not only enhances the workplace culture but also underscores the organization's commitment to addressing the diverse needs of its employees. 

Provide flexible work arrangements

Incorporating flexible work arrangements demonstrates a deep understanding of the challenges associated with family planning. Offering flexibility in when, where, and how people work means your employees won’t have to choose between coveted fertility treatment appointments and work commitments or demands. This approach not only supports their fertility journey but also signifies your organization's commitment to their overall well-being, fostering a supportive and empathetic workplace culture.

Offer comprehensive health insurance

Despite once rarely being a covered employee benefit, recent research finds that more companies offer fertility coverage as part of their health insurance package today. In a study surveying over 450 employers, more than half of respondents (55%) said they provide some fertility benefits to employees. 

As this trend grows, there will be more expectations — and demand — from prospective job seekers. In short, if you want to attract and retain top talent, you must be willing to offer competitive packages that include perks like comprehensive employee fertility benefits. 

Allow paid leave

Integrating paid leave or personal time off (PTO) policies can be instrumental to healing and keeping employees in the best emotional and mental space possible. Having downtime to recuperate, physically or emotionally, from treatments or setbacks, without having to worry about losing income is one of the best benefits you can offer working mothers and others dealing with infertility. 

This approach is among the common benefits increasingly recognized as vital to employee well-being. The inclusion of infertility coverage and parental leave reflects an understanding of diverse family planning needs and shows a forward-thinking approach to employee wellness. Such policies also reinforce the importance of work-life balance, making it one of the most crucial employee benefits for working moms

Promote a culture of inclusion & awareness

For anyone who hasn’t experienced infertility, it can be hard to understand the pain and energy the process takes. Promoting a culture of awareness will help break down some of the stigma and barriers that may exist in your company. Education can create an environment where discussing infertility isn’t taboo, so people feel understood and supported at work.

Prioritize whole health for employees

A holistic approach to employee health starts by acknowledging that mental, physical, and reproductive health are all key components of overall well-being. Offering support at every level — from physical healthcare to emotional support — can be crucial to creating a happy, healthy, and productive workforce, especially when dealing with infertility.

Integrating Talkspace services makes getting support simple and convenient. It shows that you care about the mental health of working mothers.

Talkspace offers specialized support tailored to suit their needs at any stage of life. Investing in employee mental well-being benefits more than just the person seeking help — it benefits organizations, too, by effectively improving things like job satisfaction, output, morale, and longevity. 

Reach out to Talkspace today to learn more about how you can prioritize whole health in your company to create a resilient and productive workforce.


  1. “1 in 6 People Globally Affected by Infertility: Who.” World Health Organization, April 4, 2023.
  2. Sharma, Aanchal, and Deepti Shrivastava. “Psychological Problems Related to Infertility.” Cureus, October 15, 2022.
  3. Rooney, Kristin L., and Alice D. Domar. “The Relationship between Stress and Infertility.” Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 20, no. 1 (March 31, 2018): 41–47.  
  4. “New Study Shows Companies Can Offer Competitive Fertility Benefits without Increase in Cost.” RESOLVE, April 20, 2021.  
  5. “2021 Survey on Fertility Benefits.”  RESOLVE. 2021.  

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