How companies can assist women undergoing IVF

Despite attracting many more women than previously, the property industry, particularly at a senior level, remains male-dominated.

And of those senior women who do sit at boardroom tables, I would guess the majority have chosen a career over a family.

Until two years ago I fell into this category: I worked hard to get become group director of property management at Leaders Romans Group (LRG), enjoyed my job and focused on career rather than family. 

I had assumed that having a child would disrupt my career and possibly in some way hinder it. 

I wanted a family but didn’t know how to do both career and parenting.

It was something that felt impossible. However, what I didn’t realise that this was just my own assumption.

Fortunately, my employer helped me realise that my role could be compatible with family life.

But by then it was almost too late: overly concerned about the possible impact on my career, I hadn’t even considered that I may struggle to fall pregnant. 

Today, I am pleased to say, I am not only a full-time senior director with a little girl, but one who has gone through the IVF to achieve this — again, thanks to the support of my company. 

Everyone’s IVF journey is different, some much harder than others which both can take a mental and physical toll.

I was fortunate in many ways and feel like one of the lucky ones, though there is a particular irony that having moved for the benefit of my job, I moved from a health authority which provided two free rounds of IVF to one which was less supportive.

But I had moved to a company which was not only supportive but continues to be my biggest advocate, and as my daughter approaches her second birthday, I realise that with people believing in you and providing you with the right encouragement, you can do anything.

Since I have been more open about my fertility journey within our company, I have had many colleagues talk to me about their journey to become parents too.

The fact is, this is something that many people now go through.

Recently LRG has launched a new benefit which supports employees undergoing fertility treatment.  

There are so many appointments needed during this process and ensuring the team member feels supported to attend fertility appointments forms part of this policy.

The important part is that this is not just a policy for the woman going through the IVF procedure but also for the partner.  

This unique recognises that everyone’s journey to starting a family is different and that undergoing fertility treatment can be challenging, both mentally and physically.

It’s the greatest testament to an inclusive organisation and it helps create an open and honest workplace and which supports both parents — many months before the birth of their baby. 

On International Women’s Day, we should cast aside parental guilt and celebrate the fact that as working mothers, we are part of a growing statistic which is normalising the presence of women in senior roles — and that this will make the path easier for our daughters.

Leave a comment