Human Resources



How long hours in the office can affect fertility rates

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If you’re among the majority of Hong Kongers who work an average of 47 hours a week, you might be severely limiting your chances of conceiving a child.

A US study has shown that women who work more than 40 hours a week may take longer to get pregnant than women who work less.

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston followed 1,739 nurses who were trying to get pregnant.

They reviewed data on US women participating in a nationwide survey of nurses between 2010 and 2014 who at some point said they were trying to conceive. It was estimated that 16% of them failed to achieve this goal within 12 months, while 5% still hadn’t conceived after two years.

ALSO READ: Why women are scared to ask about maternity benefits

The data concluded that essentially, working more than 40 hours a week was linked with taking 20% longer to get pregnant compared to women who worked 21 to 40 hours.

“Our results show long working hours appears to have a detrimental impact on female nurses’ ability to get pregnant,” said lead study author Audrey Gaskins, a researcher at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

The study, however, found no co-relationship between working at night and the chances of getting pregant.

In the study, the majority of the women worked exclusively days or nights, and 16% of them had rotating shifts at different times.

Frequency of night shifts or the duration of rotating or non-rotating evening work wasn’t linked to the time it took women to conceive, the study found.

These figures come as bad news for working women in Hong Kong – a country which it is notorious for long working hours. Latest figures from the Census and Statistics Departments showed that in 2014 female employees between the age of 25 to 44 worked more than 44 hours a week on average.

As debates about regulating the standard working hours in Hong Kong surround the city state, perhaps this research might aid in helping employers come to a solid conclusion.

READ MORE: Facebook and Apple will freeze eggs for female employees

Image: Shutterstock


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