More than just a benefit: How fertility benefits can boost mental health in the workplace
Have you ever wondered how companies can support their employees in the workplace beyond basic employee benefits? In Germany, the topic of fertility benefits is becoming increasingly important, especially for women and couples with fertility issues. If employers offer support for these topics, it can not only promote the branding of the company but also strengthen the mental health of employees. With such benefits, companies send an important message about family friendliness and show their employees that they are not alone. The resulting corporate culture can, therefore, not only lead to better collaboration but also promote productivity in the workplace, as a certain degree of psychological security for employees can be ensured.
A taboo topic at the workplace: fertility and the desire to have children
Infertility is still a taboo topic at work. Many employees have the desire to have a family but are in a dilemma because they do not know how to balance their desire to have children with their careers. However, in Germany, about one in 10 couples aged 20-50 is involuntarily without a child. Thus, it is by no means an issue that concerns only a small minority of employees.
This issue affects both women and men and for many employees, it is a difficult situation to deal with. They do not dare to discuss this private area with the employer and, therefore, try to keep their worries to themselves and carry this burden alone. The fact that infertility can also impact one’s professional situation and motivation is often overlooked.
Women in particular are often concerned that expressing a desire to have children may increase the likelihood of being laid off. As Selina Jüngling 2022 also describes in an article, being a parent often becomes the reason for being dismissed from the job. This, of course, reinforces the feeling of not being able to share family planning issues with the employer.
Effects of fertility issues in the workplace
Fertility issues and the planning of a family are sensitive topics in the workplace and are often kept quiet. However, the psychological effects of infertility should not be underestimated. Studies show that infertility can lead to increased stress levels and impaired mental health.
Stress as well as emotional and financial burdens are the consequences of trying to fulfill the desire to get pregnant. Especially for couples who have to decide on artificial insemination, it is necessary to attend many appointments, which often also have to be scheduled within working hours. This means that employees have to take sick leave in order to be able to attend appointments at the fertility clinic or facilities.
As also shown in a study by Chen et al. women undergoing fertility treatment often have depressive and anxiety disorders. The findings, published in the prestigious journal Human Reproduction, show that the emotional stress experienced by infertility patients has a negative impact on their mental health.
Sally Schulze, a licensed psychotherapist and certified BKiD fertility counselor, also confirms that increased stress levels, in turn, have a negative impact on infertility. A lot of stress in everyday life, such as strong emotional or financial burdens, which many couples who deal with infertility must face without further support, can in fact (temporarily) negatively affect the fertility of women and men. Therefore, it is all the more important that affected couples receive increased support in order to minimize additional stress during the emotional roller coaster ride of family planning.
What can employers do to support their employees?
Infertility is usually a taboo subject at work but it can have a significant impact on employees’ mental health. This is where fertility benefits come in, which can play an important role in supporting employees who want to have children.
Employers have the opportunity to support their employees during this sensitive period by taking targeted measures. First, they can offer fertility benefits such as fertility treatments or counseling services and provide financial and emotional support. These benefits not only signal the employer’s commitment to employee well-being but also demonstrate the company’s appreciation and respect for individual needs and family planning.
In addition, employers can create a supportive atmosphere by encouraging an open approach to the topic of fertility issues and providing informative resources, such as newsletters or social media content. Actively raising awareness of the issue can help employees feel understood and comfortable in the workplace.
In Germany, fertility benefits are not yet as widespread as in some other countries, so companies have the opportunity to be a step ahead and position themselves as pioneers in employee benefits.
A positive and supportive company culture that takes into account employees’ individual needs and family schedules can lead to increased employee satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty. The importance of fertility benefits as a building block for mental health in the workplace cannot be understated. It is up to companies to identify the needs of their employees and take appropriate support measures to help them through this challenging time.
How Fertility Benefits Can Improve Employees’ Mental Health
In Germany, awareness of the issue of having children at work is unfortunately still not widespread. But there are already some companies that have successfully implemented fertility benefits. Employers can, therefore, take a pioneering role and put the topic on their agenda. By including and informing about fertility benefits in their benefits packages, they provide their employees with the opportunity to talk openly about it and support each other.
Companies that offer fertility benefits are signaling to their employees that they take their needs and desires seriously. They show that they are a family-friendly company and respect the individual life phases of their employees.
There is a large variety of possible fertility benefits in the workplace including benefits such as financial support for fertility treatments, flexible working hours for doctor’s appointments, or psychological counseling to reduce pressure and stress on employees.
It is important to realize that infertility is an issue that should not be ignored. By offering fertility benefits as perks, employers can help foster a sense of psychological safety among their employees. This creates trust and improves the working environment for everyone.
Women in particular benefit from Fertility Benefits in the workplace, as they have greater responsibilities related to childbearing and pregnancy. Being able to balance fertility issues with a professional career can be an enormous relief for many women. They feel supported and experience less stress, which can have a positive impact on their mental health.
Fertility benefits are thus an important building block for mental health in the workplace. Employers should be aware that their employees’ desire to have children is a relevant topic and offer them appropriate support. Through these measures, both the employees and the company can benefit in the long term from a supportive working atmosphere.
How companies also benefit from Fertility Benefits
Businesses can also benefit from fertility benefits. In a time where work-life balance and family-friendliness are becoming increasingly important for many employees, companies can strengthen their employer branding through offering fertility benefits. Companies can thus position themselves as a modern and family-friendly employer. In Germany, in particular, the topics of fertility and fertility treatments are becoming increasingly important.
They also benefit from increasing employee loyalty and satisfaction, which can also boost productivity and the company’s success in the long term. Employees who know that their employer supports them in their infertility issues feel valued and are more likely to remain loyal to the company. This has a positive effect on employee motivation and performance.
In addition, implementing fertility benefits can help companies stay competitive in the war for talent. By offering fertility support, companies are demonstrating their commitment to promoting equality and diversity in the workplace. Surveys show that offering fertility benefits not only makes companies more attractive to new staff but also contributes significantly to staff retention. Carrot Fertility’s recent survey from earlier this year concluded:
- 88% of respondents would change jobs for receiving fertility benefits.
- 77% of respondents would stay with a company longer if they had access to fertility benefits.
It is important to emphasize that fertility benefits can also have financial benefits for employers. According to Resolve’s Fertility Survey, it found that for 97% of companies offering fertility benefits, the costs for employee health plans did not increase significantly. At the same time, turnover rates at companies in the U.S. are 4% lower when companies offer support for IVF treatments.
Conclusion: Fertility Benefits as an Important Building Block for Mental Health in the Workplace.
Fertility benefits related to mental health in the workplace are a significant issue. The tabooing of the topics such as fertility issues in the workplace can lead to significant effects on the well-being of those affected. Feeling misunderstood and without support can increase psychological distress. This is where fertility benefits can play a valuable role by offering support for employees.
Employers who offer these benefits show that they take their employees seriously and care about their well-being. These measures not only help couples at work to better realize their family plans but also have a positive impact on the company’s image. Companies that offer fertility benefits present themselves as family-friendly employers and can thus attract new talent and increase employee retention.
Employers can actively contribute by providing appropriate support and resources to their employees. At the same time, companies themselves also benefit from these measures, e.g., by increasing employee loyalty. Fertility benefits are thus an important building block for promoting mental health in the workplace.
If you are interested in learning more about peaches’ comprehensive fertility benefits services, contact us.
2021 Fertility Survey Report Final: Resolve: The National Infertility Association. RESOLVE. (2021). https://resolve.org/2021-fertility-survey-report-final/
BMFSFJ. (2021). Ungewollte Kinderlosigkeit 2020. Schwangerschaft und Kinderwunsch. https://www.bmfsfj.de/resource/blob/161018/b36a36635c77e98bcf7b4089cd1e562e/ungewollte-kinderlosigkeit-2020-data.pdf?gclid=deleted
Chen, T.-H., Chang, S.-P., Tsai, C.-F., & Juang, K.-D. (2004). Prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in an assisted reproductive technique clinic. Human Reproduction, 19(10), 2313–2318. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deh414
Fertility at work: A global report from Carrot Fertility. Carrot Fertility. (2023). https://www.get-carrot.com/blog/fertility-at-work-a-global-report-from-carrot-fertility
Jüngling, S. (2022). Kind da, Job weg! “Du kannst ja gerne Kinder Kkiegen, aber bitte nicht bei uns.” www.emotion.de. https://www.emotion.de/leben-arbeit/karriere/kind-da-job-weg-du-kannst-ja-gerne-kinder-kriegen-aber-bitte-nicht-bei-uns
Schulze, S. (n.d.). Wie kann ich die Wahrscheinlichkeit einer Schwangerschaft Steigern?. Informationsportal Kinderwunsch. https://www.informationsportal-kinderwunsch.de/kiwu/kinderwunschzeit/lesetipps/wie-kann-ich-die-wahrscheinlichkeit-einer-schwangerschaft-steigern–194598
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Numbers that every company should know
of employees prefer benefits over a salary increase
of employers would like to become attractive to top talents with such an offer and be able to retain them
of employers want to be perceived as family-friendly employers through fertility benefits
of small businesses in the U.S. offer fertility benefits
For the vast majority of employers, fertility benefits do not drastically increase costs
for large companies with more than 20,000 employees
in the case of American companies with more than 500 employees.