Anyone who has experienced IVF, either directly or through friends and family, will know it can be a gruelling process to go through. As well as having to endure the emotional and physical turmoil of fertility treatment, some women are also losing their jobs as a result of time off for appointments, says one Tory MP.
Nickie Aiken is asking for new workplace legal protections for women undergoing IVF. This would make it illegal for bosses to fire or sideline female staff who are trying to get pregnant via IVF, and introduce a legal right to have time off for fertility-related medical appointments.
Speaking to Times Radio, Aiken said, ‘Women are facing discrimination at work and even being forced out of their jobs because they haven’t got rights to take IVF treatment currently.
‘I’ve had numerous women tell me they’ve been either sidelined or sacked’ she added.
Around 50,000 women undergo IVF every year, according to The Times, and many of these will require more than one cycle. Aiken said that currently, many women feel forced to ‘hide’ the fact they are taking time off for appointments, which she warned could add ‘to the stress that may lead to unsuccessful treatment’
Aiken also said she had seen queues of women waiting for early morning appointments on Harley Street, so they wouldn’t have to take time off work for fertility treatment. These early morning and weekend appointments, according to Aiken, ‘cost a premium’.
‘It’s now come to the time that we’ve got to recognise IVF as a very, very important part of reproduction’ she said. ‘We’ve got an awful birth rate here in this country. We need to keep giving birth to children so that in 30 years time, they will be paying taxes, they will be our workers of the future.
‘And therefore we do need to support men and women going through IVF and give them the employment rights that they need and they deserve.’
It’s understood that the MP will attempt to bring forward a private member’s bill about IVF discrimination during the next parliamentary session.
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