Hazards in the Workplace and Fertility
For those trying to conceive or those who are already undergoing fertility treatment there are many other considerations to be addressed as well as those concerning hormones, cycles and the other usual issues surrounding fertility.
The UK has very tight guidelines and rules regarding workplace hazards and there are many laws in place that aim to protect staff and employers from damage, but even with these rules, there are still some areas that could pose a risk to your levels of fertility.
Common Workplace HazardsChemicals are well known for their risks to health but those who work in a chemical environment should pay special attention if they are trying to conceive.
Some pesticides, solvents, fumes and fuels have been linked to altering fertility levels and risking the health of a developing foetus so it is essential that you contact your health and safety department, the manufacturer of the product or speak to your fertility consultant for further advice.
If there is any risk at all to your fertility, it is important that these are discussed with your employer and department of health and protective equipment or guidelines put in place.If you work with chemicals on a daily basis make sure that you always follow guidelines, use any protection available and take a shower after every shift to free yourself from any potential damaging pathogens.
Where possible, negotiate a transfer to another department or ask for a change in duties whilst fertility is being investigated or carried out.
Activities can also affect your fertility and these measures can be controlled without too much effort. If you have a job that requires long periods of sitting on one place, it is essential that you change position often, preferably taking a shorter break more often to allow the testes to cool and the sperm to regain motility.
If you work in a very warm environment try and find a cool area to take your breaks and cool down your core body temperature. It is important to remember to wear loose fitting underwear that allows air to circulate around the groin and testes to keep the organs and the sperm healthy.
Injury & TraumaAlthough these occurrences can occur as easily outside the workplace, any accident or injury must be documented and referred to a medical professional when necessary.Lifting can be especially dangerous as these injuries can cause problems not only to the fertility of the person but may risk their spinal and muscular health as well.There are strict guidelines regarding lifting and moving loads which must be tightly observed and equipment used to transport items when able.
Employer ResponsibilityYour employer has a responsibility to protect the health of the employees and must provide and maintain any protective equipment that has been designed specifically for the use by the staff. It is however, the employees responsibility to use the equipment and try and encourage all staff to follow suit.
If you have any concerns at all, speak to your employer, union representative and the manufacturer of the chemical for further advice.
If you are currently undergoing any fertility treatment and are worried about how your work might affect your chances of success speak to your employer and explain your circumstances. If necessary obtain a covering letter from your doctor explaining how the risks might affect your chances of success.
Fertility treatment can be a very emotional, draining and expensive process without any guarantee of success so it is important to try and maximise your chances by considering all lifestyle issues including your employment.Always inform your consultant of any risks you feel that may jeopardise your chances.