While much has changed about the employee benefits landscape over the last decade, some employers still limit their family benefits to postpartum care. While on the right track, companies offering paid family leave, “baby stipends,” and other offerings, may be overlooking couples just getting started on the path to parenthood.

Why should your company offer fertility benefits?

Infertility currently impacts 12% (or 1 in 8) of couples in the U.S., a number that’s expected to increase as individuals wait longer to start families. Assisted reproductive technology can help many of those couples have children, but often at a high financial and emotional cost. Fertility benefits help employees navigate options and payments for a wide range of treatments, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg freezing, and gestational surrogacy, giving employers a way to offer much-needed help.

Offering fertility benefits isn’t just doing right by your people — it makes business sense, too. Here’s why your HR team needs to add fertility coverage to your employee benefits package.

1. Employee Expectations

Today’s employees expect more from their benefits. Traditional offerings like health, vision, and dental insurance are table stakes, as are essential family benefits like parental leave. Come open enrollment season, companies are increasingly looking at meeting those higher expectations with fertility benefits. 

A Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ) survey found that nearly 70% of millennials would change jobs to ensure they have fertility coverage. Among employees struggling with infertility, that number jumped to 90%. That demand isn’t going anywhere, as more couples are putting off parenthood until their late twenties and early thirties.

“In the middle of the ‘Great Resignation,’ employees have more power than ever when it comes to searching for a place to work that meets their needs,” said Linn Atiyeh, founder of Bemana, a recruiting firm. Employer ratings bear that out: Over 80% of top-ranked workplaces offer reimbursement for fertility care, and half of these organizations have recently expanded their coverage to appeal to employees and job seekers. “Businesses that offer fertility coverage ultimately make themselves into a more attractive and competitive workplace,” Atiyeh said. 

“A recent candidate said they would only apply to positions that offered inclusive family perks and wouldn’t take a second look at those that didn't.”

2. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

Every family has a unique path to parenthood. As already mentioned, working women are waiting longer to have children, opting to freeze their eggs while developing their careers or finding the right partner. But they’re not alone in embracing fertility treatment: more than 60% of LGBTQIA+ people planning families expect to use assisted reproductive technology and other alternative means of becoming parents.

Archie Payne, President of CalTek Staffing, a technical recruiting firm, knows that from experience. “A recent candidate said they would only apply to positions that offered inclusive family perks and wouldn’t take a second look at those that didn't,” Payne said. Supporting your employees’ whole selves also means enabling their path to parenthood, whatever shape it takes. “A company that offers fertility coverage shows its commitment to diversity, equity, and belonging. Providing the necessary coverage for family planning and fertility is a positive way to create a more inclusive workplace where all employees feel truly valued,” said Payne.

3. Mental Health

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, an estimated two-thirds of the workforce now struggle with mental health challenges. Stressors are linked to both professional and personal matters — and concerning the latter, few challenges are as stressful as infertility.

Studies show that those navigating infertility suffer from adverse mental health outcomes, including feelings of inadequacy, lowered self-esteem, and strained relationships. Research has also shown that women with infertility suffer from the same level of anxiety and depression as those with cancer or heart disease. Even when employees have access to treatment, concerns around financing and the time commitment necessary can quickly wear them down.

“It’s mentally and physically taxing, and I’m not just talking about finances. Bottom line, these treatments are time-consuming and exhausting,” said Scott Spivack, Director at United Medical Credit, a company that provides medical financing services. He noted that IVF requires an hours-long commitment from individuals every week. Initial consultation, patient education, injections, and follow-up appointments take hours of your employees’ time and headspace — and that’s only the initial stimulation phase of IVF. Later steps, like egg retrieval and embryo transfer, each come with recovery and follow-up schedules. Supporting employees by providing them with financial assistance and counseling can help comfort them.

4. Financial Health

While the link between wellness and personal finance might not be obvious, it’s a critical and overlooked part of overall health. Over 80% of businesses say that concerns about finances have affected employees’ engagement and productivity. Given the high cost of fertility care, there’s an acute risk of hardship among employees pursuing alternative paths to parenthood.

For example, IVF can cost upwards of $23,000 per cycle — with most couples requiring two or more cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy. Those costs don’t include delivery and postpartum care, which can cost between $12,000 and $30,000. One survey found that among 776 people who planned to go through some fertility treatment in the next 12 months:

  • 40% reported feeling stressed about the cost and the resulting debt
  • More than 50% planned to use a credit card to pay for the treatment
  • 25% planned to use a personal loan to pay for the treatment
  • 14% expected to borrow or withdraw money from their 401(k) plans
“It builds loyalty. Employees who received fertility benefits are more inclined to remain in their job.”

5. Employee Retention

You can’t build an enduring company or a positive culture without retaining employees. To that end, offering competitive benefits can keep top talent from looking elsewhere. For couples navigating infertility, impactful family benefits can make an outsized impact on their perception of your business. That’s why 62% of U.S. employees who had IVF covered by their employer remained in their job for an extended period.

“It builds loyalty. Employees who received fertility benefits are more inclined to remain in their job. They are willing to work harder, too,” Spivack said. That’s not just a hunch: individuals with access to fertility benefits do report having a sense of loyalty toward their companies. For example, employees are 1.5 times more likely to recommend working for their employer if they offer fertility benefits. On the flip side, over half of female employees whose companies don’t offer fertility benefits say that they would consider changing jobs to get them.

Frequently asked questions about fertility

How common are fertility benefits?

Fertility coverage isn’t a niche or a luxury benefit. An employer survey by Mercer found that 55% of respondents offered some infertility coverage in 2021. Benefits and recruiting experts echoed that sentiment. 

“In our work with clients, we’re seeing that fertility benefits are an increasingly common part of the benefits package, particularly at larger companies,” said Matt Erhard, Managing Partner at Summit Search Group. He cited the benefit’s affordability, concerns about retention, and a growing awareness of what fertility treatments entail. 

Further, Mercer data also shows that employer-sponsored coverage for IVF, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and other fertility procedures and services have increased in popularity year over year. Notably, DEIB has been a key driver in this growth: 61% of businesses who recently added fertility coverage cited it as their top reason for doing so.

Are fertility benefits expensive?

The same Mercer survey cited earlier found that 97% of the employers that offer fertility coverage (including IVF coverage) reported no significant cost increase. “While fertility treatments like IVF may appear expensive on the individual level, as an employer-offered benefit, they’re affordable compared to other aspects of the employee benefits package,” Erhard said.

That’s because no path to parenthood is the same, and oftentimes individuals struggling with infertility can achieve success through IUI and other more affordable options. And with preimplantation genetic testing often part of the fertility treatment process, couples using fertility treatments today are more likely to have positive outcomes on the first try. 

Whatever approach couples choose, managing the costs doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Maven Wallet makes it simple for employees to calculate the cost of fertility, surrogacy, adoption, and other services upfront, giving them clarity into how much their benefits will cover. It also connects to individuals’ bank accounts, providing them with quick access to their employers’ fertility reimbursement funds when they need it. Learn more about Maven Wallet here.

Should time off be included as a fertility benefit?

Yes, and doing so may not be a matter of choice. As mentioned earlier, fertility treatment is a lengthy process that, more often than not, requires employees to take time off from work. Most legal experts believe that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act protects workers from being penalized for taking time off for fertility treatment.

Maven’s Fertility Benefits

Maven is the world’s largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health. Our comprehensive fertility and maternity program includes ongoing assessments, proactive check-ins, and human touchpoints, helping members identify risks early and prevent costly complications.

Maven’s care model is also proven to reduce healthcare spending. In addition to a 2:1 clinical ROI, our offerings reduce the need for costly services like C-Sections and NICU admissions, saving patients and employers thousands in healthcare costs upfront and long term. Our goal is to help couples conceive in the way that’s best for them — that’s why 17% of members who join our fertility track don’t end up needing or receiving treatment.

Taking care of your people was always the right thing to do — and now doing so saves your business thousands in healthcare expenses, too. Schedule a call with our team to see how Maven supports working families, retains talent, and reduces costs.

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