Large and diverse group of people seen from above gathered together in the shape of two intersecting circles.

An Intersectional Analysis of Proposed Fertility Leave in England and Wales

By Elizabeth Chloe Romanis and Sabrina Germain

For people in England and Wales needing access to fertility treatment, economic barriers can be a huge hurdle. There are the direct costs of the treatment (some, but not all, of which are covered by the National Health Service). But there are also the less visible indirect costs associated with accessing these treatments. These include needing time off work to attend appointments, funding travel to and from fertility clinics, and having access to spaces at work to store and administer medication and take private phone calls. Indirect costs limit access to fertility treatment for structurally disadvantaged individuals in England and Wales. It is for this reason that a Private Member’s Bill currently being debated in the House of Commons, the Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill, which seeks to introduce fertility leave in the UK, should be welcomed (see earlier posts in this symposium by Dafni Lima and Manna Mostaghim).

Introducing a formal entitlement to “allow employees to take time off from work for appointments for fertility treatment; and for connected purposes” is a step in the right direction. We offer an intersectional reading of the Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill and consider how the benefits offered are likely to be stratified along class, race, sexuality, and gender lines. The Bill is well-meaning and highlights the critical issue of indirect barriers to fertility treatment in the workplace, but it is inattentive to structural issues affecting marginalized people experiencing infertility.

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Out of office - memo on office desk with glasses, pen, clock, paperclip.

Fertility Leave: Seeking Assisted Reproductive Technology as an Employee in the UK

By Manna Mostaghim

Fertility leave — employer-sanctioned time off for fertility treatment appointments — is becoming a feature of modern employment relationships in the UK. Some public and private sector employers in the UK have fertility leave policies within their organizations; however, currently there is no “statutory right to time off for fertility appointments” in UK law. As of March 20th, 2023, a private members’ bill (the Fertility Treatment (Employment Rights) Bill) has had its second reading in the House of Commons to codify the right for employers to be required to “allow employees to take time off from work for appointments for fertility treatment.” But, as it stands, employees in the UK still require the beneficent support of their employers to receive support and fertility leave in their workplaces.

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Woman injecting hormones into her abdomen to stimulate follicles for IVF.

Parental Leave Has Proven It Works — It Is Time to Talk About Assisted Reproduction Leave

By Dafni Lima

A series of legal rules are designed to ensure that, when welcoming a child, parents are given the protection and support they need in relation to work. The same cannot be said for those dealing with challenges unique to assisted reproduction. This post argues that the protective rationale of parental leave should be extended to address the needs for those undergoing fertility treatment in the form of a new “assisted reproduction leave.”

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