A new poll released in the recent fertility awareness week suggests that the majority of HR professionals still require (and want) access to education to better understand fertility related issues.

In the poll of 4,000 UK employees, a quarter had experienced fertility problems, with 51 per cent of those having to take time off work for medical reasons. However, just two in five of that group said they felt supported by their managers.

More than half (53 per cent) of workers said their employers did not have a fertility-related policy in place.

In the survey, conducted by LinkedIn and Censuswide, the vast majority (91 per cent) of the 1,000 HR professionals also polled said they would benefit from education and support to better understand employee fertility issues. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of HR professionals also thought fertility support in the workplace should be considered a statutory right.

Just over a third of those employers contacted offered financial support for fertility treatment, with fewer employers (25 per cent) providing fertility support to same-sex couples. Just 19 per cent offered egg harvesting or freezing services.

Lisa Finnegan, senior HR director at LinkedIn, said: “We need to raise awareness of the diverse fertility journeys that people undergo so they feel comfortable starting the conversation at the beginning of that journey.

It’s so important that businesses build an environment of support for everyone in their workforce, and that HR professionals have the tools they need to approach these sensitive conversations in the right way.”

In the UK at present employees currently have no statutory right to take time off work to undergo IVF treatment.