UK law firm creates ‘fertility agent’ in bid to quash notion that motherhood is workplace suicide

Career or babies? Now you can ask a ‘fertility agent’: UK law firm creates new job in bid to quash claim that motherhood is workplace suicide

  • Burgess Mee has appointed a ‘fertility worker’ to dispel motherhood myths
  • Natalie Sutherland wants to show pregnancy doesn’t need to be kept a secret
  • The message hopes to discourage thinking that becoming a mother is professional suicide










A law firm has appointed a ‘fertility agent’ in a bid to dispel the notion that becoming a mother is professional suicide.

Burgess Mee, which specializes in family law, is said to be the first UK firm to introduce the position.

Natalie Sutherland, who took on the part-time role, said she hoped to convince young lawyers that there was no need to keep their pregnancy plans secret.

Natalie Sutherland (pictured), who took on the role on a part-time basis, said she hoped to convince young lawyers there was no need to keep their pregnancy plans secret

“The impression that I and my peers had at the start of our careers was, ‘If you want to do well, you shouldn’t have babies until you’re established,'” said Ms Sutherland, an expert in family law and surrogacy.

“But that compounds the problem, because usually you don’t get established until you’re well into your thirties, when your fertility starts to decline.

“As female lawyers, there is concern that having children before entering into a partnership is essentially career suicide, and I believe strongly that it should not be thought of that way.”

A growing number of large companies in the legal and other sectors are offering their employees fertility benefits such as free IVF or egg freezing.

Ms Sutherland, 43, said women welcomed the benefits but offered no guarantee of having a baby, while critics fear the benefits could encourage women to delay having babies. have children.

A growing number of large companies in the legal and other sectors are offering employees fertility benefits such as free IVF or egg freezing (file photo used)

A growing number of large companies in the legal and other sectors are offering employees fertility benefits such as free IVF or egg freezing (file photo used)

Ms Sutherland became a mother at 36 after reaching partner level, but endured fertility issues, including a miscarriage.

She said: “Isn’t it better to have an open culture where young lawyers coming in don’t feel like they have to choose between career and family?”

If an employee was having trouble conceiving, she added, she shouldn’t have to suffer in silence at work, but should instead be able to talk about it.

The move comes amid a sharp drop in births. Since 2010, the average number of children born to each woman has fallen from 1.9 to 1.6.

A fertility rate of 2.1 is needed to maintain the population without immigration.

The Mail on Sunday revealed last month how fertility rates are holding up relatively well among professional women.

Urging employers in other sectors to consider introducing fertility agents, Ms Sutherland said: ‘Fertility issues can affect anyone, not just those in jobs like law.’

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