Over the last 30 years, U.S. multinational companies have employed an increasing number of international workers. As companies grow, offering benefits that are as equal as possible around the world is often a priority — and a significant challenge. If you’re exploring fertility benefit options for your global workforce, you may have already seen how complicated coverage can be. What’s acceptable in one country can be against the law in another. Family-forming journeys also have unique cultural considerations that are an important part of each person's and family's experience. And these factors, such as laws and regulations around fertility, are always changing.
In order to provide complete fertility care for your global employees, it’s important to find a fertility solution that understands the nuances of global fertility and family-forming services and provides support no matter where employees are. Below, we share a few signs that you’ve found a solution that can meet your company’s needs — and a few red flags that a solution may not be truly global.
Rules, regulations, and cross-border care
Certain family-forming options aren’t available in some countries or sub-regions within countries. Others have specific restrictions based on age, marital status, citizenship, or sexual orientation. In Poland, for example, in vitro fertilization (IVF) services are not available to single women or same-sex couples. In Germany, fertility treatment with donor eggs is not allowed. And in many parts of the world, working with a gestational carrier (commonly known as surrogacy) is not permitted.
But what if your local employees require those services? In some countries that don’t allow certain procedures domestically, it may be legal to seek care in another country. Cross-border care is one way to help improve access to services between locations that have different laws around family forming — but these journeys are complex, and legal and logistical support are critical. At Carrot, our experts help members understand and navigate journeys in over 60 countries and connect members with the appropriate legal resources and providers.
Understanding financial and cultural nuances
It’s also important for a fertility benefits solution to have a strong understanding of each country’s healthcare system and how it interacts with fertility services in that country. Without an understanding of what's covered in a certain country, fertility benefits solutions can't provide navigational support throughout the family-forming process nor can they advise employees on how to use local coverage when possible.
Beyond that, it's critical for true global support that a fertility benefits solution understand the various degrees of cultural acceptance different family-forming practices have in geographical areas. Knowing about stigmas or cultural expectations can ensure that care coordinators can provide appropriate support throughout an individual’s or couple’s journey. For example, elective egg freezing is technically available in Japan, but it isn’t as publicly discussed or widely accepted compared to some other countries, and only a small number of clinics perform this service.
If it doesn’t seem that the fertility solution you’re evaluating has both software capabilities built on this knowledge and relationships with experts on the ground in a country, they may not be aware of local cultural practices that could be part of your employee’s parenthood journeys — and this lack of knowledge could make access to those services virtually impossible for your employees.
Vetting fertility vendors on global offerings
As you evaluate vendors for your global workforce, there are a few questions you can ask to better understand their global expertise and determine whether their offerings provide the level of support your global employees need. Consider asking:
What steps does your company take when launching in a new country or city? This question will help you assess how thorough the solution’s process is when offering services in a new area. This is important to ensure your existing locations, as well as any future locations, are well supported.
How do you comply with local rules, regulations, and laws? Ask this question to get at the solution’s understanding of the complexity of fertility and family-forming laws around the world — and to make sure your company isn’t unintentionally putting itself at risk.
Can you walk me through how you would help an employee that needs care that isn’t accessible in their home country? Again, these situations are complicated. It’s important to understand what resources are available for employees living in countries where care may not be available domestically.
How many providers are in your directory, and what is your approach to vetting them? Every country is different in terms of how many providers they have, standards of practice, and having access to high-quality, in-country care is important. Does the solution consider access and include enough provider options for your members?
If a fertility solution struggles to answer any of these questions, or if it seems like they approach each country the same way, these are red flags that they might be taking their solution in the U.S. and applying it globally without taking country-specific nuances into consideration.
A solution that isn’t truly global may also provide only highly limited offerings to members outside of the United States. Finding a global solution can take some additional digging into the details, but it’s worth it to offer benefits parity to your employees, no matter where they are.
As a complete global solution, Carrot has helped tens of thousands of members in more than 60 countries access fertility and family-forming services with the support of 4,800+ clinics and partners. If you’re looking for a fertility solution for your global teams, get in touch with us.