In the previous issue I discussed the Menopause in the workplace and in my quest to continue challenging the salon culture and hopefully improve it, today I’m going to talk about fertility. This is a subject that is incredibly close to my heart, as my wife, Kate, and I have recently gone through two rounds of IVF. Sadly, neither round worked for us. As you can imagine, emotions are still fragile and I’m sure they will be for some time, possibly forever. Our treatments fell during lockdown and one of the things that came to us during the process was how hard it would be to fit in the injections and ad hoc appointments around work, especially in our industry.
One in every seven relationships will suffer from infertility and until last year it wasn’t on my radar but having gone through the experience I know firsthand the commitment required to take on such treatment. And I was the partner. It was Kate that had to have the scans, the injections, the medication. It is time consuming and exhausting in every way possible and while our outcome wasn’t what we had hoped, we do want to change the negative into a positive.
At the Medusa Team Awards last month I announced a new Fertility Policy for the company. Anyone that opts for fertility treatment will be given flexible working days to allow for impromptu appointments that can’t be planned ahead of time. This will also give them the space to do the necessary temperature controlled injections in the comfort and privacy of their own home. We are also including two weeks full pay, which can be taken at any point from when the embryo is transferred to the twelve week scan. By doing so, the employee can use the time to rest, process the experience or grieve the outcome should it not go as planned. It won’t interfere with holidays and hopefully allows the focus to be on the treatment, not the financial pressures attached to infertility.
I appreciate that some people may want to keep their fertility story private, and I fully respect that. I want to be able to help and support my team in the best way possible t and they know that when they speak with me it is in confidence. Equally, I want them to know that they are part of a team and we can lean on each other and support each other. I want them to know that when things in your personal life aren’t going to plan it’s ok to talk about it.
Often we don’t know what to say around taboo subjects but I firmly believe that a simple “How’s it going?” or “Do you what to talk?” is always better than ignoring the situation. By opening up the conversation around fertility we can remove the heaviness surrounding the subject, and that can only be a good thing. I know this by vocalising our story. Since announcing the Fertility Policy the love and support we have received has been overwhelming. It won’t change the outcome for us but talking about it has helped with the healing. If Kate and I can use our story to better support our team members, and maybe in turn, your team members too, then I’ll take that as a win.
Find more from Colin McAndrew here.