5 signs a fertility benefit isn’t actually inclusive

Now more than ever, companies are looking to provide employees with equitable and inclusive support. Today, 71% of employers see fertility benefits as a way to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts. By 2025, 58% of benefits managers said that they would view it as discriminatory not to offer fertility benefits.

As HR leaders, understanding that fertility benefits can help you reach your DEI goals is a good start, but to truly promote DEI, it’s important to understand what inclusivity really means. From male-factor issues to the experiences of single-intending parents or members of the LGBTQ+ community, truly inclusive fertility benefits meet the needs of all employees who want or need support. Whether you're considering bringing on fertility benefits or evaluating your current options, here's what you need to know to make sure your benefits package is as inclusive as possible.

5 signs fertility benefits aren't actually inclusive

Sign 1: If fertility coverage requires an infertility diagnosis, it’s not inclusive

Infertility impacts one in eight different-sex couples in the U.S. alone. To meet this need, every year more employers cover options like in vitro fertilization (IVF). However, many plans require an infertility diagnosis to use IVF support and other fertility benefits — a significant sign they’re not as inclusive as they could be. This narrow definition of infertility excludes most LGBTQ+ people, single-intending parents, and people pursuing parenthood outside of a heterosexual, cisgender partnership.

To make sure your options can support all employees regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, or marital status, fertility benefits should include access to treatment without an infertility diagnosis as well as diverse options like gestational carrier (GC) services, adoption, foster care, fertility preservation, and donor-assisted reproduction.

Sign 2: The benefit focuses exclusively on female-factor fertility

Providing support for female-factor infertility is critical. But, making fertility a “women’s-only” issue can be limiting and unhelpful for women and their partners, as well as people of other genders.

With 30 – 50% of fertility issues in different-sex couples attributed to male-fertility factors, including sperm testing and freezing as part of your team’s fertility benefits is an important step toward creating a more inclusive benefits package. Carrot members have access to urologists to help them learn more about their fertility and address issues. Sperm testing and freezing from home is an option, too.

Transgender women and non-binary people also need access to fertility testing, preservation, and family-forming options. For example, some trans people choose to freeze their gametes before starting hormone therapy or surgery. As an employer, you can support your trans and non-binary employees by providing them with access to affirming providers and clinics. Carrot vets all partners for LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

Sign 3: The financial benefit requires out-of-pocket expenses

With the average cost of fertility care and family-forming ranging anywhere from $5,000 to over $150,000, a financial benefit is a significant way to support employees who are pursuing parenthood. But the average person doesn’t have enough savings to pay those costs out of pocket and wait for a reimbursement. This can lead to employees who have coverage putting care on credit cards or being unable to move forward.

Options like the Carrot Card remove this obstacle by allowing employees to pay for their fertility care with a pre-funded card. At Carrot, we believe in fertility care for all, and breaking down barriers to cost is one of the most powerful ways to create a truly inclusive and accessible fertility benefit.

Sign 4: Fertility care and services are only available in certain locations

For global companies, meeting the needs of employees no matter where they live is a crucial part of reaching DEI goals. Benefits parity can be particularly challenging when it comes to fertility benefits because of the variation in laws and culture related to family forming around the world. Certain family-forming options aren’t available in some countries or sub-regions within countries. Others have restrictions based on age, marital status, citizenship, or sexual orientation. Even in the U.S., there can be legal differences between states. For example, using a commercial GC is illegal in states like Michigan and Nebraska. It’s important to offer resources that are as specific as possible to the regions you’re serving to meet benefits parity goals.

At Carrot, support is available in more than 120 countries. Our experts help members understand and navigate the nuances, laws, and restrictions of their countries and connect with local providers.

Sign 5: The value of culturally competent care isn’t incorporated into the benefit

While culturally competent care can come from providers of any race, research shows that outcomes are often better when Black people receive care from Black providers. Inclusive fertility benefits acknowledge the varied experiences of employees of different racial and ethnic backgrounds and provide specific resources for them. For example, at Carrot, we’ve created a feature for BIPOC members to request a BIPOC provider if they desire one.

Fertility and family-forming are incredibly personal and unique to each person. As an employer, you can do your part by making sure your benefits package is inclusive of all regardless of their backgrounds or path of choice, so employees will have access to the guidance, support, or resources they need to start their family-forming journeys.

Want to learn how Carrot can support the fertility needs of all of your employees — in the most inclusive way possible? Get in touch with us.

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