The Council recognises that some employees may wish to undergo IVF treatment to try to become pregnant and that this can be a stressful and time consuming process.  The Council will be as supportive as possible in relation to employees undergoing IVF treatment, in particular in relation to time off requests for investigative appointments and during treatment.

This guidance applies to all Aberdeen City Council employees apart from Teachers and other employees covered by the SNCT terms and conditions.

This page will be of interest to you if:

  • You are an employee considering or are undertaking IVF treatment.
  • You are a manager who has an employee considering or is undertaking IVF treatment.

The full Guidance for Managers on Managing Employees Undergoing IVF Treatment can be found here.

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a form of fertility treatment. The IVF process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (i.e. unfertilised egg cells) from the woman and fertilising them outside the body. The fertilised ova are then implanted into the woman with the aim of establishing a successful pregnancy.

What should an employee do if they are undergoing or planning to undergo an IVF procedure?

  • Inform their line manager once their plans to undergo IVF have been confirmed (or within a reasonable period of time) and provide a statement from a qualified medical practitioner that fertility treatment has been recommended and approved.
  • Provide their line manager with as much notice as possible of any time off request(s) providing appropriate evidence of the appointment(s).
  • Inform their line manager when the IVF treatment is to begin.
  • Inform their line manager at the point of removal of the ova so that the manager is aware of when the employee has special protection from discrimination.
  • Inform their line manager once the implantation stage of IVF treatment has been undertaken so the manager is aware of when the statutory right to time off for antenatal care appointments arises.

Time off for IVF investigative appointments and treatment

The IVF process generally involves regular medical appointments. You may require time off work for:

1) investigative appointments prior to the start of treatment and

2) in the course of the IVF treatment itself

There is no statutory right for an employee to receive time off work in connection with fertility investigations or treatment before the stage at which the employee is pregnant.

Paid time off for investigative appointments prior to the start of treatment and for IVF treatments will not normally be given.

Instead, various options (or a combination of these) can be explored by the manager (or appropriate female manager) and employee. These options include:-

  • Unpaid leave
  • Annual leave
  • Flexi leave (for those on flexi time)
  • Making lost time up at a later date
  • Altering hours on a temporary basis
  • Making use of a Coreless Flexi day (for those on Flexi time)
  • Consideration of other flexible working options (see the Council’s Smarter Working guidance)

What if my partner is attending investigative appointments or receiving IVF treatment?

The above options can also apply to an employee who wishes to take time off to support their partner at investigative appointments and during treatment.

What if the employee is sick as a result of undergoing IVF treatment?

At any stage of the IVF process, an employee may be absent from work due to the effects of the treatment, with it affecting people in different ways.

If this arises, the employee will be regarded as being on sick leave, and will report their absence in the normal way.

Click here for more details on how to deal with this situation.

Time off for antenatal care

For the purpose of entitlement to employment rights for pregnant employees, a woman is regarded as “pregnant” from the date when the fertilised ova are implanted.

The employee will therefore be legally protected from pregnancy and maternity discrimination and will have the right to paid time off for antenatal care from this point. A pregnancy test is usually undertaken two weeks after implantation to determine whether or not the treatment has been successful. On notification of pregnancy the Council’s Maternity Guidance  will apply.

You might also be interested in:

Special Leave



Shared Parental Leave

Flexible Working

Time for Talking

Other Sources of Information:

IVF – NHS Choices:


Click here to return to the main Family Friendly page.

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