2021 Out Leadership Summit

2021 Out Leadership Summit

The desire to have children is independent of sex, sexuality or gender identity and there are many different paths to parenthood. Yet there remain many barriers for LGBTI+ people at work.

This Thursday, 4 November, City Fertility and Rainbow Fertility partners with Out Leadership for a conversation at the Out Leadership 7th Australian Summit to explore real changes businesses can make to support LGBTI+ employees and their families.

We invite you to join a fascinating conversation facilitated by Out Leadership’s Managing Director of Global Equality Initiatives, Fabrice C Houdart. The panellists are City Fertility’s Chief Operations Officer, Cathy David, leading gender equality specialist Grace Paper’s Chief Executive Officer, Prue Gilbert, and leading law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s Partner of Diversity and Inclusion and Diversity Council Chair, Heidi Roberts. They will discuss how businesses can support their LGBTI+ employees as they plan and start their families.

Register and listen to the Out Leadership Australian Summit conversation: https://events.bizzabo.com/339127  

Fertility and work

Fabrice C Houdart is the proud father of two boys through surrogacy and enjoys the lived experience of a gay father. He celebrates, “The parenting experience as such an exciting adventure and LGBTI+ people are increasingly starting their families thanks to social change, marriage equality and available technologies.”  

City Fertility’s Chief Operations Officer Cathy David said, “Organisations are starting to introduce inclusive family-friendly policies, including recognition of IVF, donor services, surrogacy, gender affirmation and fertility preservation.” 

“As we start to open up conversations around broader reproductive health issues in workplaces and increasing focus on employee health and wellbeing, we will also start to have conversations about people’s fertility journeys, including the challenges LGBTI+ people face,” Cathy David says. 

“The desire of LGBTI+ people to have a baby is the same desire as any other person to have a baby and we have to recognise this very fundamental issue before we see real change, including at work,” Cathy David says. 

Visible, explicit and evidence-based

As a leading gender equity consultant, Prue Gilbert says, “There is still a lot of work to do to dismantle social constructs of what a family is and people’s perceptions of what a family ought to be.”  

“We need to make sure we are really explicitly inclusive of all people, of all genders, of all family constructs in policies and build awareness and understanding, not just for those who that policy is applicable to, but to all people. It is through that communication and the stories we share, that we start to break down the biases and inappropriate comments and attitudes and to build belonging and inclusion in organisations,” Prue says. 

Research recently conducted by Grace Papers and Pride in Diversity (An Inclusive Approach to Parenting, 2020) found there are considerable gaps in both visible and inclusive parental leave policies, as well as employee awareness of their entitlements for all family structures, including leave for IVF treatments. 

“One of the critical questions we asked,” Prue Gilbert said, “was whether people’s family and parental leave policies were inclusive and accessible to all people, regardless of gender or social identity, and while 62% of respondents said “yes”, this shows a lot of room for improvement with a lot of people who don’t know.” 

“It was also concerning that only 35% of respondents said their parental leave policies specifically stated they were inclusive of all family types, including LGBTI+ families, and we heard that only 16% of respondents said their parental leave or carers’ policy allowed time for IVF appointments, as either the gestational parent or partner; 23% said they definitely didn’t and another 21% were unsure. 

Flexible and Inclusive Parenting Policies

Corrs Chambers Westgarth is a member of Out Leadership and well-progressed with flexible and inclusive family support for all its employees, along with an active and engaged Pride@Corrs Network.   

“Inclusive parental leave policies are ones which apply to all carers, all genders, single parent families, single sex couples and adoption, surrogacy, foster care. They are not gender specific policies and they clearly state that they are for everyone, and everyone knows these entitlements are for them,” Heide Roberts of Corrs Chambers Westgarth said. 

“The Pride@Corrs Network has an internal and external mandate and is a safe space to have safe conversations around parenting, caring and family and to share their lived experiences. The network is a reference point on developing policies, such as parental leave policy and gender affirmation and it also ensures leadership listens to our community,” Heide says. 

Fertility Benefits Program at City Fertility

City Fertility offers a Fertility Benefits Program for Australian employers to support their employees through their fertility journey. This will have significant value for both business and their employees, including LGBTI+ employees and their families.

As part of this program, we are able to provide confidential fertility services at a discounted rate as well as credible fertility health information. Whatever your employees’ and/or their partners’ circumstances we offer services tailored to their needs.

“With real, tangible education and open, honest and inclusive conversations, employees will feel valued, they will feel safe and hopefully their journey, when they get there, will be less stressful,” Cathy David said.

Other benefits of providing your employees with our fertility benefits program include:

  • Attracting and retaining top talent
  • Foster long-term health and wellbeing
  • Improve employee engagement and productivity.
  • Take diversity and inclusion initiatives to another level


For more information on how your organisation can offer employee fertility, including for LGBTI+ employees through Rainbow Fertility, or simply to start the conversation, contact Corporate Engagement Manager Judith Kingston 



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