fertility leave: managing strategies & your rights

4 in 5 people say fertility support is an important consideration for them in a new job.


Navigating the complexities of your career while dealing with fertility issues can be a challenging and emotionally-charged journey. Whether you're struggling to become pregnant, undergoing fertility treatment or considering other paths to parenthood, it's crucial to find a balance that allows you to pursue your professional goals while prioritising your personal life.

If you have questions and concerns about fertility leave, you're not alone. A recent report found that 4 in 5 people say fertility support is an important consideration for them in a new job.

But what are your rights, and what resources can help you? Here's everything you need to know.

can I have time off for fertility treatment?

Unfortunately, there’s no statutory right to time off work for fertility treatment. However, there are things you can do. 

Your employer should treat your fertility treatment just as they would a doctor’s or hospital appointment. Make sure to check your employment contract, as this should state whether or not you’re allowed to take time off work and if it's paid or unpaid.

Unless your contract states otherwise, your employer may insist you us holiday to take appointments or make the time up at a later date.

If you are undergoing IVF treatment and have a note from your doctor, your employer should give you the time needed for IVF appointments and any related sickness that may come with the IVF treatment. 

should I tell my manager I'm going through IVF treatment?

Going through IVF treatment is a very personal experience and you may be tempted to keep it from those as work. However, it's usually best to speak to your manager as a courtesy in case you need time off or require additional support. Your company may have a special leave policy that can make the IVF process smoother. These might involve: 

  • Flexible working to help with appointments 

  • Paid leave for problems such as a miscarriage 

  • Official fertility treatment leave 

  • Fertility benefits for employees such as help towards egg freezing.

While it's not a legal requirement to offer paid leave for fertility problems, it's worth having the conversation to see if there are ways your employer can make the process easier. Remember, they may only offer unpaid leave, so see if you can afford this financially before committing. 

If you are going to speak to your employer, here are some things to consider: 

  • Talk as openly as you can: fertility treatment can be an emotional process. Letting your line manager know can help them understand

  • Be professional: if you require accommodations or time off for medical appointments or treatments, inform your supervisor or HR department in a professional and private manner. Clearly state your needs and provide any necessary documentation from your healthcare provider

  • Set boundaries: Be clear about the boundaries you need to maintain your emotional and physical wellbeing. This might include not taking on additional stressors or extra work during this time.

utilise available support

Managing your career alongside fertility issues is easier when you have the support of your workplace. Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and other resources that can provide emotional and mental health support during this challenging period. Take advantage of these to help reduce stress and anxiety. 

If you're struggling with ongoing fertility treatment and have made the decision not to tell your employer, there are more options available. If you are an ACA student, an existing or former ICAEW member, or a close family dependent, contact us to find out how we can support you. 

focus on time management

Effective time management is key to balancing your career and ongoing fertility treatment. Here are some tips to help you stay on track: 

  • Plan ahead: Schedule any medical appointments and treatments well in advance whenever possible. Inform your employer early to avoid last-minute disruptions. 

  • Prioritise self-care: Ensure you make time for self-care, as managing fertility treatment can be physically and emotionally taxing. Adequate sleep, a balanced diet, and regular exercise can all contribute to your overall wellbeing. 

  • Create a support network: Lean on your partner, family, friends, or support groups for help and emotional support. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance when needed. 

  • Track your statutory leave: Check your annual leave so you can bank some if needed. You will be entitled to regular sick leave if you are unwell due to any fertility treatment. However, taking additional time away from work can benefit your physical and emotional wellbeing.

fertility benefits for employees: legal rights and benefits

Understanding your legal rights and any available benefits in your workplace is important.  

  • Familiarise yourself with maternity leave policies, family medical leave options and any available fertility treatment coverage in your company's health insurance plan. 

  • If you encounter discrimination or feel your rights are being violated, consult your HR department. If necessary, seek legal advice to protect your rights. 

  • Although there is no case law in place, if you feel discriminated against during ongoing IVF treatment, you may have a claim. An example of this would be if your employer refused to grant leave or unpaid leave on the basis of anything related to IVF. 

While benefits like paid leave might not always be available, it's worth familiarising yourself with other options. Knowing your pregnancy rights can help take some of the pressure off during your fertility journey. 

If you feel you may have a legal issue or would like to discuss money or health concerns, caba is qualified to help. If you are eligible for our support, get in touch

seek professional help

Managing fertility treatment while maintaining your career can be emotionally challenging. Consider seeking the guidance of a therapist, counsellor, or support group specialising in fertility issues. These professionals can provide valuable insights and coping strategies to help you navigate this journey more effectively. 

Not all fertility journeys are successful, and that can be difficult to cope with. Getting the help you need can be vital for your mental wellbeing. As an employee, you're also entitled to sick leave to come to terms with an issue like a failed embryo transfer or a miscarriage. 

stay informed and flexible

The journey to parenthood can be unpredictable. Stay informed about the latest advancements in fertility treatments and options and any potential career-related changes that may arise. Be flexible in your career goals and timelines, as balancing work and fertility issues may require adjustments along the way. Getting pregnant can take time, so try not to set harsh deadlines for yourself. 

There is currently a Fertility Treatment bill in the early stages which promotes fertility treatment leave, where eligible employees going through fertility treatment may be entitled to paid time off. This is currently not a legal right, but it's worth keeping an eye on for any developments. 

treat your pregnancy journey individually to you

Balancing your career while going through fertility issues is no easy feat. Still, it's possible with the right strategies and support. Prioritise open communication with your line manager, take advantage of available resources, practise effective time management, know your legal rights, and seek professional help when needed. 

Remember that your journey to becoming pregnant is a unique and individual experience. With the right approach, uou can achieve your career aspirations while pursuing your dreams of parenthood.  

emotional support

We can arrange for you to receive counselling sessions to help you work through the roller coaster of emotions that fertility issues can bring.

we’re here to listen



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your questions answered 

Who is eligible for support?

We support past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), ACA students, ICAEW staff members, and the family and carers of members and students. 

  1. No matter where your career takes you, past and present members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England Wales (ICAEW) are eligible for caba’s services for life, even if you change your career and leave accountancy 
  2. ACA students (ICAEW Provisional Members) who are either an active student or have been an active student within the last three years are eligible for caba's services 
  3. Past and present staff members of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's services for life, even if you leave either organisation. Please note, for former employees, our financial support is only available to those who have had five years continuous employment with either organisation 
  4. Family members and carers of either an eligible past or present ICAEW member, ACA student or past or present employee of the ICAEW or caba are eligible for caba's support. We define a family member as a: 
    1. spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner 
    2. widow, widower or surviving civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    3. divorced spouse or civil partner who has not remarried or cohabiting with a partner 
    4. child aged up to 25. Please note, children aged between 16 and 25 are not eligible for individual financial support 
    5. any other person who is dependent on the eligible individual supporting them financially or are reliant on the eligible individual’s care 
    6. any other person on whom the eligible individual is reliant, either financially or for care 

You can find out more about our available support both in the UK and around the world on our support we offer  page. 

Are your services means-tested?

If you need financial support, we carry out a means test where we consider income, expenditure, capital and assets.  

*Please note none of our other services are means-tested. 

How confidential is caba? Do you report members to the ICAEW?

Everything you tell us is kept in the strictest of confidence. We don't share your personal information with any third parties, and that includes ICAEW. caba is a separate organisation from ICAEW and is an independent charity with its own board of trustees. We do not have a duty to report anything to ICAEW.

Can caba pay for my ICAEW membership fees?

If you’re struggling to pay your subscriptions, we're able to offer financial assistance which is means tested based on your household income. Whatever your situation, we're always here to offer advice to help you manage your finances.

How long does it take to receive financial support?

It depends on the individual situation, but we can work very quickly if it’s an emergency.

download our financial support flowchart


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