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Japanese companies slow to introduce fertility treatment support

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People receiving fertility treatment in Japan are struggling to balance their work with therapy, as Japanese companies are slow to introduce supports for employees undergoing such treatment, according to a Health Ministry survey.

The survey, released on Monday, found that 37.1% of women and 34.9% of men surveyed took leave to receive fertility treatment, while 72.6% of women and 61.8% of men respondents said their companies had no treatment support system.

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It also found that 11.2% of women and 4.6% of men surveyed had given up their jobs to undergo therapy.

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The survey was conducted by mail and the Internet between October and December of last year, and 1,011 women and 625 men who had received or were receiving fertility treatment at 794 target medical facilities gave valid responses. The average age of respondents was 39.5 years, while 22.9% of the total were on treatment.

“The problem is that companies ‘efforts are still insufficient,” the health ministry said, expressing determination to promote employers’ efforts to help workers take time off for treatment.

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The ministry intends to use the results of the survey to design a public health insurance program whose scope of coverage extends to fertility treatment.

Before launching the expanded program in April 2022, the ministry plans to provide grants to small and medium-sized businesses that strive to facilitate the treatment of employee fertility by introducing special paid leave systems and other measures.

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Among other survey results, 77.2% of women and 63.9% of men surveyed cannot feel fully happy about another person’s pregnancy and that 74.0% of women and 69.7 % of men feel pressure from themselves and their partner’s parents.

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