Understanding the growing need for fertility benefits

The need for fertility benefits is growing. In this post, we explore: 

  • Why your clients’ employees are asking for fertility benefits
  • How fertility benefits can play a role in your clients’ diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy
  • Why global coverage is important 
  • How comprehensive fertility benefits can reduce healthcare costs 

Demand for fertility benefits is on the rise. The Great Resignation has changed what job seekers look for, with more employees seeking out companies that support them as people, not just employees. Fertility benefits have stood out as a powerful way to attract and retain employees: 88% of employees would even consider changing jobs for access to fertility benefits. 

As a benefits consultant, one of your jobs is to ensure your clients are providing resources that keep up with what today’s job seekers are looking for. Fertility benefits are also a powerful way for your clients to demonstrate their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). And contrary to popular belief, fertility benefits can actually lower healthcare costs. The need for fertility benefits will only continue to grow — here’s what you need to know as you make the case to your clients. 

More employers than ever are adding fertility benefits — don’t let your clients get left behind

There’s been significant growth in fertility coverage among all employers in the past five years, but especially larger employers. In 2020, 47% of companies with more than 5,000 employees covered in vitro fertilization (IVF), and 42% of companies with more than 20,000 employees offered IVF support. 

This growth isn’t limited to IVF coverage, either. For example, take a look at how support for egg freezing has also grown:   

  • In 2015, only 5% of employers with 500 or more employees covered egg freezing, but those numbers jumped to 15% in 2021.
  • Among employers with 5,000 or more employees, 21% covered egg freezing

What was once a taboo topic in the workplace is becoming an area that employees feel empowered to speak out about. And when these demands are met, employees are more likely to stay at their jobs. Among employees who received fertility benefits, 61% reported feeling more loyal and committed to an employer.

Fertility benefits help companies reach DEI objectives

With increasingly dispersed workforces, DEI initiatives for your clients that include accessible benefits regardless of location are more important than ever. 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an essential factor when assessing employment opportunities. By 2025, 58% of benefits leaders will view it as discrimination to not offer fertility benefits.

Often, benefits plans require an infertility diagnosis to use fertility services, but this narrow definition of infertility excludes most LGBTQ+ people and single-intending parents. Access to diverse options like gestational carrier (GC) services or adoption helps expand options for same-sex couples and anyone looking to grow their family. About 17% of companies with 500 or more employees offer some adoption assistance, and those numbers are growing every year. 

When looking for fertility benefits that can support DEI efforts, it’s important to assess whether the benefit:

  • Doesn’t require an infertility diagnosis to access care
  • Includes care navigation for finding LGBTQ+-inclusive clinics and providers
  • Provides support for employees of all genders — not just female employees

At Carrot, inclusion is core to our mission. For example, we prioritize diversity by vetting all partners for LGBTQ+ inclusivity and offering diverse care through our BIPOC provider finder

Global employees are looking for support, too

The demand for fertility benefits isn’t limited to the U.S. Among UK employees, for example, 31% said employers should offer fertility benefits. But finding truly global fertility benefits can be challenging, particularly because of how different laws around family forming are worldwide. For example:

  • In Canada, only altruistic GC services are allowed — GCs can’t benefit financially from carrying a pregnancy on behalf of intended parents.
  • Historically, India has not regulated practices and rules related to assisted reproductive technology (ART) and GC journeys. Recently passed laws now regulate who is eligible for ART treatment, among other requirements.
  • Mexico does not regulate ART services by law.

To support the diverse needs of employees around the world, Carrot is available in 120+ countries. Our experts help members worldwide understand and navigate journeys and connect them with the appropriate legal resources and providers.

Comprehensive fertility benefits can reduce healthcare costs

When adding fertility benefits, your clients may be concerned about increased costs. But in fact,  97% of employers reported that adding fertility and family-forming coverage did not result in a significant increase in medical plan costs. In fact, fertility benefits can lead to a decrease in costs — here are a few reasons why:

  • Historically, IVF was more likely to lead to multiple births because of multiple embryo transfers; research estimates that U.S. businesses spent $5.7 billion just to cover those costs. 
  • Employers spend 12 times as much on healthcare costs for premature or low-weight babies as they do for babies without complications; twins and triplets are more likely to be born prematurely.

Fertility benefits that include clinical navigation provide education around the value and safety of single embryo transfer, leading to fewer multiple births and lower costs. At Carrot, 97% of members who go through IVF opt for a single embryo transfer.

How your clients can anticipate demand

As awareness around fertility benefits grows, more employees will seek out companies that provide comprehensive support. By anticipating demand not just in the U.S. but globally, and providing support for all fertility health journeys, your clients can get ahead of this trend and improve outcomes, lower costs, and boost recruitment, too. 

Meeting employee demand with comprehensive fertility benefits doesn’t have to equal higher costs. If your clients are looking for benefits that improve recruitment and retention and lower costs, let’s talk.  Get in touch with us — we’re looking forward to sharing how we can support your clients’ goals.

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