Fertifa, a leading provider of fertility, menopause and family-forming benefits has been selected by Virgin Management and Virgin Red to offer comprehensive fertility support to its UK & Ireland employees.

Employees at each company have access to a programme of education, unlimited free appointments with a dedicated fertility advisor, free home testing kits for themselves and their partners in the UK, and discounted fertility treatment. The latter includes procedures such as IVF, intrauterine insemination (IUI), egg freezing, sperm freezing, frozen embryo transfer (FET), genetic testing, donor eggs and/or sperm.

The addition of this benefit is part of Virgin Management and Virgin Red’s commitment to prioritising its people’s ability to thrive both in and outside of the workplace. This includes recognition of the adventure and huge life change that comes with bringing or deciding to bring a child into your life. Their gender-neutral approach to family benefits includes adoption, surrogacy, and shared parental leave.

In partnering with Fertifa, Virgin Management and Virgin Red are now also recognising the physical, emotional and financial impact that fertility challenges can have on employees and the knock-on effect this can have on workplace performance.

 

Holly Branson, Chief Purpose and Vision Officer at Virgin Management, and her husband Freddie, had their own struggles with fertility, resulting in several rounds of IVF. Holly was behind the onboarding process of Fertifa at Virgin Management.

She says: “After experiencing our own struggles with fertility, this wonderful partnership feels particularly meaningful, to me and Freddie. Before giving birth to our twins Etta and Artie, we spent two years trying to conceive. Sadly, we suffered two miscarriages and two failed rounds of IVF. During those years, I kept everything bottled up. It was years later that I finally opened-up about our fertility struggles at work. I was completely blown away by how many of my colleagues were facing the same challenges and the same sense of loneliness and hopelessness. By openly talking about fertility issues, we gained so much strength from each other. I experienced first-hand how important it is to feel supported by the people around you, and your workplace too. The support offered by Fertifa will mean that no one in our VML family, of either sex, will feel like they have faced the journey of starting, or building, their family alone.”

 

Rachel Griffin, a Senior Manager at Virgin Management, who has been using the programme for initial testing has spoken of her experience so far: “I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to access these services through my employer. The process has moved at pace, bypassing one of the huge frustrations that usually comes with fertility uncertainty. Having tests turned around in 72 hours, with meanings and options clearly communicated to me, has been a huge weight lifted.”

She added, “It’s also been amazing to see people talking more openly and honestly about fertility in the workplace. People across different teams, different levels of seniority, and facing different challenges, are talking openly about this. It’s normalising the conversation. That has been a great source of reassurance.”

Fertifa’s services also cover advice on alternative paths to parenthood, including surrogacy and adoption.

 

Virgin Management’s People Director Sarah Biggers says: “We are delighted with how people have engaged with this new benefit. In just the first 3 months of it being in place, we can already see the impact that increasingly more open conversations about fertility taking place across the business is having. As a result, Virgin Red are also now rolling out access to the same service with their first employee webinar taking place in March.”

“Fertility was an important topic to recognise and include in our extensive range of family-friendly benefits. The uncertainty around fertility can be both physically and mentally draining, impacting our employees’ ability to thrive both inside and outside of work. This is a major priority of ours, and so I am happy we can support our people in this way.”

 

Eileen Burbidge, Executive Director at Fertifa, adds: “We are delighted to be selected by Virgin Red and Virgin Management to provide workplace education, support and financial assistance for fertility challenges. As the UK’s leading provider of both women and men’s reproductive health, family forming and menopause workplace benefits, our services encourage employees to be proactive about their reproductive health and ensure they have access to specialist care and support throughout their fertility journeys. We firmly believe Fertifa’s in-house clinical expertise, provision and educational resources support companies’ strategic objectives around employee recruitment, retention and productivity, diversity and inclusion and workplace wellbeing.”