How to support employees just starting their fertility journey

Fertility benefits can support employees wherever they are in the family-forming process — including before they’ve taken the first step. Some employees aren’t planning on growing their families any time soon but want to learn more about their fertility and wellness; others want to understand their options as an LGBTQ+ couple or single-intending parent. By offering support early on, you’ll help your employees make the right decisions, seek out the appropriate care, and feel empowered throughout their fertility journeys — not to mention that your company may experience cost savings as a result. Let’s get into a few ways your company can provide the right support from the start.

1. Educate your employees

Deciding if and when to have children is a highly personal decision. But surveys show that significant gaps exist in the average person’s fertility knowledge. For example, only 27% of survey respondents correctly identified on what days of the menstrual cycle someone can get pregnant. Surveys also show limited knowledge around fertility preservation and the best time to consider it. Information on trans fertility is particularly limited, even from doctors. If employees are misinformed — or don’t know what they don’t know — these knowledge gaps can lead to delays in seeking the right care.

It’s natural to turn to “Dr. Google” for answers about fertility, but it’s no secret that many resources available online are not vetted by experts. To help, companies can provide comprehensive education about various aspects of fertility — from treatment options to mental health management. The best way to do this is to partner with a fertility benefits vendor who can connect employees to educational materials, experts, and helpful resources. Having accurate information from the beginning can help employees make better-informed decisions when they take the next step.

2. Provide care navigation

The most common question Carrot’s Care Navigation team receives is, “where do I start?” The fertility journey can feel overwhelming, and employees may not know who to turn to or how to take those first steps. Care navigation connects employees to experts who can help them move in the right direction. At Carrot, we go a step further by offering our members Carrot Plans — comprehensive guides that help members reach their unique family-forming goals by connecting them to the right clinics, experts, and educational resources.

Care navigation is essential for other reasons as well. For instance, it’s well known that the LGBTQ+ population faces discrimination in healthcare settings. Care navigation can help these employees identify LGBTQ+-inclusive fertility clinics and providers, increasing their chances of having a positive experience.

There’s also a strong business case for offering care navigation for fertility and family forming. When employees receive care from reputable clinics that follow medical best practices and educate employees about the safest way to approach their treatments, they’re less likely to run into issues that result in higher healthcare costs. For example, multiple births occur in 14% of IVF births compared with 3% of non-IVF births. Multiples increase the chances of having a high-risk pregnancy, often leading to higher rates of preterm and cesarean deliveries, longer hospital stays, and additional physician fees. Offering a clinically-managed fertility benefit relieves the financial burden on employees and helps them choose the safest approach to treatments, such as single-embryo transfers, which reduces healthcare costs for your organization as well.

3. Make at-home fertility testing and tracking available

Fertility testing is a valuable resource for those who want to learn more about their health and fertility. Unfortunately, there are a few blockers to fertility testing for employees:

  • Fertility testing is not a standard part of annual physicals, which means it costs employees extra time and money to get a test.
  • Over-the-counter tests, while more accessible, don’t always provide a complete picture.
  • Fertility test results can be confusing to interpret without the guidance of an expert.

So what can employers do to address these challenges? First, provide at-home fertility testing options. At Carrot, we offer at-home Female Fertility and Wellness Tests, which includes a customized panel of biomarkers that provide a more comprehensive view of fertility health than other tests. It’s also critical to give employees a way to interpret their results professionally. After taking the Female Fertility and Wellness Tests from home, Carrot members can work with their healthcare providers to understand the results and discuss the appropriate next steps.

And don’t forget about male-factor fertility testing. Even though sperm issues are a common cause of infertility among different-sex couples experiencing infertility, male partners are not always given a fertility evaluation. Fertility benefits that support all genders should include access to semen analysis as well as expert consultations and care from urologists.

Finally, consider providing at-home fertility tracking devices for employees. Carrot offers its members access to resources like sophisticated ovulation tracking that helps couples get pregnant faster through timed intercourse. Tools like this can potentially help your employees avoid unnecessary, expensive, invasive treatments like IVF — saving your company money down the road.

We encourage companies to get involved sooner rather than later when it comes to supporting their employees’ fertility journeys. By helping your people get started on the right foot, you’re ensuring they have a safer, higher-quality fertility experience while also reducing downstream costs for your organization.

Want to learn how Carrot can support the fertility needs of all of your employees — regardless of their sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation? Get in touch with us.

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