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UAE Companies Urged to Provide Fertility Support to Employees Amid Rising Demand

UAE Companies Urged to Provide Fertility Support to Employees Amid Rising Demand

In recent years, there has been a notable surge in the number of UAE companies offering support to employees dealing with fertility issues, albeit they remain a minority, experts revealed.

The landscape is shifting as more individuals seek medical interventions for family planning, especially with the recent changes in UAE laws allowing unmarried non-Muslim couples access to IVF treatment.

Toshita Chauhan, business head of health and motor insurance at Policybazaar.ae, highlighted the growing demand for fertility treatments to be integrated into medical insurance packages across the UAE. She noted that while IVF treatments are not commonly covered by most health insurance plans, there is a growing trend towards including optional add-ons for fertility treatments, although these are still not widely available.

Infertility, defined by the World Health Organization as a failure to achieve pregnancy after a year or more of trying, is a global concern. In the UAE, factors such as high living costs and a focus on career advancement over family planning contribute to the challenge. Statistics reveal that one in six couples in the UAE experience difficulties conceiving, with the country witnessing a decline in its total fertility rate over the years.

Recognizing the importance of addressing fertility issues, some UAE companies are stepping up to offer support to their employees. HSBC UAE, for instance, recently announced the inclusion of fertility treatment coverage in its health insurance packages, extending support to all employees and their spouses. Similarly, WSP Middle East introduced fertility provisions in its group insurance package in 2021, providing financial assistance for relevant treatments.

Richard Stilgoe, human resources director at WSP Middle East, emphasized the company’s commitment to supporting employees in their journey towards parenthood. He highlighted the importance of creating a supportive work environment that empowers individuals to make life decisions without fear of negative consequences.

Moreover, global technology company Snap Inc. offers its UAE staff insurance coverage for infertility diagnosis and surgical treatments, along with access to fertility support programs. Such initiatives aim to provide employees with comprehensive care and support during their fertility journeys.

Despite the growing recognition of the importance of fertility support in the workplace, there is currently no legal obligation for UAE companies to provide such assistance. However, experts note a positive trend with more employers taking proactive steps to support employees undergoing fertility treatment.

Foram Gohel, managing director of Tappy Toes Nursery in Dubai, emphasized the significance of incorporating fertility support within HR policies. By allowing staff undergoing fertility treatment to utilize a portion of their maternity leave, the nursery aims to alleviate the emotional and physical challenges associated with fertility treatments.

Cassie Destino, founder of IVF Support UAE, underscored the profound impact of employers’ support on employees’ lives. She highlighted the need for greater awareness and acceptance of fertility issues in the workplace, emphasizing the importance of creating a supportive environment for employees undergoing fertility treatment.

In conclusion, as more individuals seek fertility treatments in the UAE, there is a growing need for companies to offer comprehensive support to their employees. By integrating fertility support into HR policies and health insurance packages, employers can play a crucial role in empowering individuals on their journey towards parenthood.

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