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A third of young workers say employers should fund fertility treatment

One in seven couples struggle to conceive

Almost a third of young workers aged 18 to 34 believe fertility benefits, such as egg freezing or subsidised IVF, should be offered by employers.

According to the research by Willis Towers Watson, almost half (47%) of these millennials and post-millennials cited the high cost of private treatment as the biggest reason for this.

Another 43% said they were concerned about restricted NHS treatment, 26% believed it would offer improved career opportunities and 24% said it would reduce time the pressures of having children too quickly. 

Increasing numbers of employers across the US are already providing fertility benefits. Mike Blake, Willis Towers Watson’s wellbeing lead, said UK companies should consider the recruitment and retention benefits of following their lead.

“One in seven UK couples face difficulties trying to conceive, yet restrictions in NHS funded treatments have been widely reported in recent years, with postcode variations in access to services,” he said. “Furthermore, the cost of private fertility treatments can be a significant financial burden, and in some cases, may even prove prohibitive.”

The poll of 2,000 people found that the number of workers calling for fertility treatments to be offered by employers was highest among younger employees. The figures fell to 20% for all UK workers and dropped to just 6% among workers aged over 55.

“While companies may appear forward-thinking and supportive by offering fertility treatments, employers should tread carefully to avoid a backlash,” added Blake.

He warned that the introduction of egg-freezing as a benefit has sparked controversy and can risk raising suspicions around employer motivations.

Almost one in four workers said that if their employer were to offer egg freezing as a benefit, they would view this as a selfish attempt to retain talent for longer. 

Although health insurance policies will ordinarily cover underlying medical conditions related to infertility, they will not typically cover fertility treatments such as IVF.

Alternative options include provisions via self-funded schemes, such as healthcare trusts.