As an HR leader, employees expect your support as they start and raise their families—and for some, that process includes surrogacy. Surrogacy, in which a person carries a pregnancy and delivers a baby for another individual or couple, has helped thousands become parents. More people are turning to surrogacy to fulfill their dream of having children. According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of live births from surrogacy more than doubled in the past decade.
As the prevalence of surrogacy grows, employers must understand the surrogacy journey and why employees view surrogacy support as an essential part of their overall benefits package.
What are surrogacy benefits?
A diverse and growing range of people are considering surrogacy as a way to grow their families. Employers can help their teams as they pursue surrogacy through financial support, increased paid leave, mental health support, or education. Some companies also offer legal support as part of their surrogacy package. Like adoption, surrogacy is a highly regulated process with laws that vary from state to state and country to country. Additionally, there are often medical requirements for the intended parents in gestational surrogacy. Employees may have multiple medical appointments and request greater schedule flexibility and increased paid personal or sick leave.
Despite the many ways of supporting employees as they pursue surrogacy, Maven’s research shows that only 11% of companies offer some form of surrogacy benefits.
Why are surrogacy benefits important?
Despite current economic uncertainty, the labor market is still hot, and many experts expect the labor shortage to last longer than previously expected. In highly competitive industries, current and potential employees look closely at their complete benefits package when deciding where they want to work. In fact, the number one consideration for employees looking at opportunities is greater pay and better benefits.
Beyond attracting new employees, adding surrogacy support can also help retain current employees. Maven’s research found that 27% of employees want adoption and surrogacy benefits. Those that don’t receive this support may start looking elsewhere: 60% of employees have left or considered leaving a job because of inadequate family benefits. Family planning benefits are fast becoming necessary for companies that want to retain top talent.
Surrogacy support can also show current employees that your company is dedicated to diversity and inclusion. More than 60% of LGBTQIA+ families plan to use assisted reproductive technology (ART), including surrogacy, to help grow their families. Offering comprehensive resources are an excellent opportunity to show support for all types of families and create a more inclusive and diverse workforce. No journey is the same for any individual or couple, and creating surrogacy benefits inclusive of gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity is essential.
Five key considerations when building out employer-provided surrogacy benefits
If expanding your family planning benefits package with surrogacy support is on your radar but you need help figuring out where to start, here are a few key considerations.
All in, surrogacy can cost between $80,000 and $150,000. For many parents, that price tag makes surrogacy untenable without some form of financial support. Companies can help offset costs by providing coverage or reimbursement for some—or all—of the costs associated with the surrogacy process.
Paid parental leave for surrogacy
Adequate paid parental leave is vital for the mental, physical, and emotional health of your employee and their family. Parental leave for surrogacy should match that offered to families who give birth themselves. Companies should also consider a flexible schedule as employees embark on their surrogacy journey, so they can balance medical appointments and travel with their work.
Destigmatizing surrogacy in the workplace
Surrogacy is a widely misunderstood topic. Infertility and surrogacy stigma might make employees uncomfortable even when approaching HR to discuss options. Creating an inclusive and educated workplace that supports all families can go a long way. HR can destigmatize the surrogacy process by:
- Ensuring that discussions about benefits aren’t through the lens of infertility. Many different families consider surrogacy for different reasons
- Incorporating surrogacy into your employee trainings to guide employees on how to speak about surrogacy around the office
- Including surrogacy whenever you mention family planning to make it clear that your company treats surrogacy as important as pregnancy and adoption
Education and access to surrogacy experts
The surrogacy process can be confusing and extensive, as potential parents need to navigate financial, legal, and medical hurdles before and after welcoming their baby home. Providing virtual access to surrogacy experts, like surrogacy coaches, can help parents feel like they aren’t on this journey alone. Many companies also opt to give employees access to a library of on-demand content and classes to educate parents further as they start the surrogacy process.
Mental health support
All fertility journeys are unique, and each presents its own joys and challenges. Surrogacy is no different, and navigating the obstacles along the surrogacy journey can be draining for many potential parents. By providing easy access to mental health care, employers can ensure that their employees aren’t neglecting their emotional needs during the surrogacy process.
Learn how Maven Clinic helps you support employees seeking surrogacy
Maven, the leading digital family health solution, provides comprehensive and customizable support for employees navigating the surrogacy process. This support includes:
- Personalized guidance at every step of the process. From choosing the right surrogacy agency to early parenting support, our experts are there along the way.
- An extensive virtual network of surrogacy coaches, mental health providers, and more to help employees navigate their journey through surrogacy and beyond.
- Clinically-vetted surrogacy content, live classes, and other resources to support intended parents on their journey.
Maven is a trusted partner and resource for employees as they navigate their family journey. To learn more about how Maven can help you build an effective and inclusive surrogacy benefit, contact us today.
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