- Merck will provide financial support to employees by covering costs for fertility treatments
- New program to start in eight markets across Europe, Asia, and Latin America
- Offer applies not only to company employees, but also to their partners
Merck, a leading science and technology company, is launching a comprehensive Fertility Benefit program in October 2023 that will offer employees financial support for fertility treatments. The program will be launched in eight markets: Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, China, India, Taiwan, Brazil, and Mexico. To date, Merck offers similar benefits to employees in the United States, Canada, and Japan. An expansion of the offering to Merck employees in further countries is planned to start next year.
“Merck has been helping people and families to create, improve and prolong lives for a long time, and as a global leader in fertility we understand the emotional and financial toll fertility challenges can take. We are proud to offer our employees financial support to follow their dreams if they wish to become parents. We have always been pioneers in making a balanced work and home life a reality for our colleagues, with flexible and hybrid working, a Healthcare fertility policy, a menopause policy and various other support offers. We hope others in the industry will join us as we strive to create an inclusive environment for all, especially women, in the STEM industry,” said Doina Ionescu, Managing Director of Merck Healthcare UK and Ireland.
Dr Catherine Hill, interim chief executive of national fertility charity Fertility Network UK, said: "It's always encouraging when organisations recognise their responsibility to employees facing fertility issues, especially when that support goes beyond fertility policy and extends into financial support for them and their partners.
"We know from the results of our recent survey that going through fertility treatment can be incredibly distressing and that less than half of people feel that they were supported by their employer during their experience.
"We hope more companies will join Merck in making the workplace a more understanding environment for those struggling with fertility. Our Fertility In the Workplace team can offer all levels of support to those who would like to know more about implementing or updating workplace policies and understanding more about what fertility treatments entail and how best to support their employees."
Fertility facts in the UK
- Around 1 in 7 couples in the UK may have difficulty conceiving.
- According to the HFEA, around 55,000 patients had in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or donor insemination (DI) treatment at HFEA licensed fertility centres in the UK in 2021, rising from around 53,000 patients in 2019.
- According to a survey of 2,023 senior HR professionals and decision-makers in the UK, just over a quarter (27%) of employers have a policy in place concerning fertility treatment, while 40% don’t have a formal policy and don’t plan to introduce one.
- According to the May 2023 CIPD report, almost half of employees (47%) didn’t tell their manager or HR they were experiencing fertility challenges. 
- Over half of organisations (56%) providing some kind of support had not their told employees about it.
- Almost one in five (19%) employees said they had considered leaving their job because of their experience at work in relation to fertility challenges, investigation or treatment.
The new Fertility Benefit offered by Merck applies to all their employees, irrespective of their marital status, and is also open to their partners. A range of services, such as fertility tests, in vitro fertilization treatments, and hormonal treatments, can be covered. Apart from financial assistance, Merck offers employees facing infertility issues additional information services related to fertility disorders.
Merck has many decades of experience in the field of fertility medicine. Today the company is the global market leader in therapies for fertility treatment. According to current estimates, more than five million babies have been born with the help of products from Merck. This number represents about half of all babies born through medically assisted reproduction since the birth of the first baby conceived through in vitro fertilization in 1978.
Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. More than 64,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From providing products and services that accelerate drug development and manufacturing as well as discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2022, Merck generated sales of € 22.2 billion in 66 countries.
Scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to Merck’s technological and scientific advances. This is how Merck has thrived since its founding in 1668. The founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company. Merck holds the global rights to the Merck name and brand. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck operate as MilliporeSigma in life science, EMD Serono in healthcare, and EMD E
 The precise details of the program and the associated reimbursement rules may differ based on applicable local laws and regulations. The program generally does not cover adoptions or surrogate motherhood.