British Army – Finalist 2022, Best for Supporting Fertility and Pathways to Parenthood
The British Army consider fertility and parenthood to be a workplace issue, and take the view that their policies and support of those on a parenting journey reflects the commitment employees make to the organisation.
From day one of their employment employees are supported to realise their aspirations to become parents through access to flexible working, geographic stability and periods of restricted separation, irrespective of their chosen pathway.
Assisted Conception and Fertility Preservation policies ensures access to treatment, including the NHS Assisted Conception Services. Eligible employees are entitled to the maximum NICE recommended number of cycles irrespective of where they are based. Policy is also in place to support those who have sustained genital injury due to their employment, as well as provision of proactive Fertility Preservation where there is risk of genital injury due to the employment being conducted. Where employees are overseas, return travel to the UK is funded to ensure fair access.
The organisation holds shared parental leave and Adoption leave policies, which provide the same rights, six months full pay and three months statutory pay, as an individual on maternity leave. Time off is available for pre-adoption appointments as well as antenatal appointments for surrogate parents.
As a signatory of the Miscarriage Association’s Pregnancy Loss Pledge, all leave and working policies are reviewed to ensure they support those individuals experiencing a miscarriage or pregnancy loss.
Networks have been established by employees for employees, to provide support and guidance via the intranet to employees and their partners. The Child Bereavement Network provides peer support for those affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, TFMR, ectopic pregnancy, neonatal death and child loss.
The Fertility Networks provides peer support as well as resource hubs to aid education and raise awareness amongst line managers, as well as utilising the lived experience to influence policy that enhances support. As an organisation with a high male demographic, work is ongoing to break the taboo of male infertility with the ‘HIMfertility’ campaign. The Fertility Network is also building links with Fertility Network UK and respective Families Federations. Bespoke adoption support is provided via the charity SSAFA to prospective parents across the organisation.
A measure of success
The transformation of these networks into official support groups and the signing of the Pregnancy Loss Pledge which was promoted to the large social media audience, demonstrates that the organisation publicly stands by those undergoing fertility journeys. As a result of this exposure, membership to the Fertility Network has seen an 84% increase in 2022 alone.
This guest award was sponsored by Fertifa.