Fertility benefits as a workplace perk

a woman searching on her computer about fertility benefits at work-MEDIPASS

What does it take for companies to stand out from the competition? Is it the salary, the working conditions, their work ethics, work flexibility -especially during Covid19- the food they serve? What is that extra perk which will win you over and make you accept a job offer? In 2022 health and especially fertility benefits are one of the most crucial workplace perks that differentiate companies from each other. 

Big companies such as Apple, Unilever, Microsoft, and Facebook have already stepped up their game and upgraded their health plans with benefits that include things like IVF, egg freezing option, and other fertility treatments. 

The pandemic seems to have only accelerated that kind of work perk. In 2021, the number of employers offering “family-building benefits”—including fertility treatments, adoption, and foster support—grew by 8%, according to the 2021 FertilityIQ Workplace Index. Nearly 800 employers globally have some kind of family-building benefits. Also, companies that aren’t providing any kind of fertility benefits are seriously considering doing so, now more than ever. Roughly 27% of employers provided coverage for IVF treatments and another 12% were considering offering it, according to a survey by Willis Towers Watson in early 2021, and nearly 18% offered coverage for egg freezing procedures and 11% were considering it. Although you may see that the percentages are rising year by year, there is still  a lot of work to be done. According to Resolve (the National Infertility Association), in April 2021, 19 US states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws, 13 of those laws include IVF coverage, and 11 states have fertility preservation laws for iatrogenic infertility. 19 states of a total of 50 in the USA is still a low number but it shows potential. 

So, when we talk about fertility benefits, which ones are we exactly referring to?

Egg freezing: the number of women choosing to freeze their eggs is rising, up to 1,000% in the U.S. between 2009 and 2016, and the number of individuals, heterosexual and same-sex couples seeking non-traditional routes to parenthood is growing further still. In the past, it may have been taboo for a woman to just think of freezing her eggs, but nowadays women freeze them and exercise their rights as they wish. The procedure has opened up a new avenue for women who want to explore prolonging their fertility and put that “chapter” of their life on hold, but it doesn’t come without cost. This fertility option can be very expensive and that is why some of the biggest companies have started to offer free cycles. According to FertilityIQ, the cost of an egg freezing cycle is between $15,000 to $20,000, and the cost of egg storage is up to $1,200 a year. When you decide to pull those eggs out and use them, the costs of IVF vary, but it can be $40,000-$60,000, depending on the city and the clinic. Let’s mention here that Greece is one of the top destinations for IVF and fertility treatments as it offers low prices, good legislation, and top-notch clinics. It also offers options for same-sex couples. So, while the egg freezing process is not something new in the medical field, it is rather new as a benefit in companies. When the first companies offered it as an extra benefit it seemed radical, and many women started to feel less guilty about trying the procedure. Now, it is starting to be the norm and every company that respects and cares about its employees should add it to their perks list. 

Let’s not forget the fact that fertility sees no gender. Men can also experience infertility and have a need for fertility treatments. One in eight U.S. couples has trouble conceiving, and for U.K. couples, that figure is closer to one in seven, with infertile men sharing almost the same percentage as women. It is highly encouraging for companies to respect any health issue their employees have and offer help because in that perspective, the employee feels appreciated, therefore more loyal to the company. That leads to better working conditions and overall success!Is there a negative side to offering egg freezing as a perk? Well for some people there is, as it may seem that the company “pushes” women to stay away from family making in order to work more. It is HR’s responsibility to try and explain what the company offers and make employees feel secure about their decisions and life choices. 

Some of the most well known companies that add fertility perks to their list:

  • Adobe. It covers 90% of the cost of fertility treatments, a lifetime maximum of $60,000 for the cost of fertility drugs, and up to $25,000 for non-medical expenses related to the cost of surrogacy or adoption. 
  • Doordash. It covers up to $20,000 of fertility benefits per family for everything from egg freezing and infertility services to adoption and surrogacy fees, as well as visits to experts like endocrinologists, OB/GYNs, and adoption and gestational carrier services legal experts. It also supports treatments commonly needed by trans individuals, such as hormone therapy, gender dysphoria treatment, and gender-affirming upper and lower body surgeries.
  • Intel. It covers up to $40,000 of expanded conception services and $15,000 for expenses related to adoption.
  • Apple. It offers $20,000 worth of fertility treatments.
  • Bain & Company. It offers unlimited coverage for IVF and egg freezing.
  • Bumble. Discounts for IVF, artificial insemination, and egg freezing.
  • Chanel. Unlimited access to IVF. Interesting fact: the only company in the fashion industry that offers infertility coverage.
  • Facebook. $100,000 for four cycles of IVF (pending proof of eligibility for fertility treatment) and preimplantation genetic screening, and $20,000 for surrogacy benefits. 
  • Google: Three cycles of IVF, fertility consultations, and egg freezing assistance. 
  • Pinterest: Up to four rounds of IVF treatments, up to $20,000 for surrogacy assistance, and up to $5,000 for employees who adopt.
  • Starbucks: Up to $10,000 per adoption, surrogacy, or artificial insemination; and a $20,000 IVF benefit to all employees.
  • Tesla. Unlimited IVF coverage.

As you can see, if a company wants to stand out nowadays and show how it truly values its employees will have to include fertility perks to its list of perks. It’s not only offices, food, bonding events and bonuses that keep employees loyal. It is the overall support of their diversity, their life choices, and their wants and needs. Health -and especially fertility- benefits – are not “a nice to have”, they are essential and it will make a difference to the employees’ choice of coming to work for you. As employees enjoy greater leverage in a tight jobs market, that may be the true test of such schemes’ success. 

“The world is a very different place from where it was five years ago”. “We live in a world where family comes in all shapes and forms. Some can’t have children biologically, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to have a family of their own”, said Priya, a Seattle-based senior program manager whose company introduced a more comprehensive fertility benefit program after the birth of her first child.

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