It’s that time of year again — time to make tough calls on where to focus your benefits budget dollars. Finding a balance between what your workforce wants, managing budgets, and improving your overall benefits offering is no easy task. To help with these decisions, we put together some of the latest data and information about fertility and family-forming benefits.
The main takeaway? Fertility benefits are no longer a nice-to-have — they’re a must-have benefit for companies looking to offer inclusive support for their employees and save costs during an uncertain economy. Here are a few reasons why companies are prioritizing fertility benefits in 2023 — for both the good of the company and their employees.
Upstream & downstream healthcare cost savings for employers
In 2022, employees continued to demand fertility benefits, and their employers delivered on their requests. And the trend is growing — in 2022, 61% of employers with more than 500 employees provided at least some infertility coverage.
Family-forming and fertility care are known to be expensive. With economic change in the air, companies may wonder whether now is the best time to invest in something that could be costly. But fertility benefits can actually help manage and reduce healthcare costs. David Kaplan, a leader of Mercer Health Innovation, explains the downstream health savings of fertility benefits, noting, "The interest is not only being driven by talent and retention-related issues but also by the high cost for employers who, whether they offer infertility benefits or not, are still incurring much of the NICU and associated high-risk maternity-related expenses." Carrot works with our customers to reduce high-risk, maternity-related expenses while supporting employees in several ways, including our single embryo transfer (SET) education program.
In addition to downstream costs, Carrot can help companies save on upstream costs. Our telehealth program offers care guidance and support for employees’ journeys before ever setting foot in a clinic. At-home options can help individuals conveniently take the first step toward learning more about their fertility. With the support of their doctor, insights they learn can help guide them towards first-line interventions that can ultimately reduce costs, such as nutritional changes and other lifestyle adjustments that can improve fertility.
It’s also worth noting that across the board, employers that add fertility benefits do not see increases in costs: 97% of companies have not seen an increase in costs since they started offering fertility coverage.
Inclusive support for all employees
Even during uncertain times, employers must maintain commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), an area where fertility benefits can play a significant role. According to a Glassdoor survey, 67% of job seekers consider a diverse workplace an important factor when deciding to accept a position. And if employers don’t meet these needs, they’ll fall behind. In fact, 58% of benefits managers said that they would consider it discriminatory not to offer fertility benefits by 2025.
A fertility benefit impacts many employees, including LGBTQ+ individuals and couples. One survey found that 63% of LBGTQ+ millennials were considering expanding their families, most commonly through assisted reproductive technologies (ART), foster care, or adoption. In 2022, President Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, codifying same-sex and interracial marriage into federal law for the first time in U.S. history. Despite progress, marginalized people still face additional barriers to family forming and healthcare access. One survey found that 52% of non-binary, transgender, and gender non-conforming people said they feel uncomfortable talking to their healthcare provider.
And inclusion doesn’t just mean providing fertility benefits to your employees in the U.S. As U.S. multinational companies employ more international workers, global benefits parity will become increasingly crucial to an inclusive benefits package. Laws and regulations related to family forming vary significantly around the world, so it’s important to partner with a team that understands the nuances in each country and has processes in place to support your employees wherever they are.
Conversations around fertility health are expanding
Infertility is a serious diagnosis that impacts one in eight heterosexual couples — about 6.7 million people — in the U.S. alone and 96 million worldwide. Misconceptions about who’s affected and the support they need is still prevalent, especially in the workplace. While in vitro fertilization (IVF) is currently a popular offering that is important and a necessity for some, it’s not the only solution to infertility. And since infertility has a limited definition that excludes single parents and same-sex couples, more than ever, fertility benefits are expanding beyond IVF. In fact, only 1 in 3 people who seek infertility services require treatment such as IVF. That’s a major reason why Carrot offers support for early, at-home interventions like nutrition counseling and ovulation tracking, as well as other family-forming journeys like adoption or gestational surrogacy. Currently, only one in five companies offering fertility coverage also provides adoption or foster care coverage.
Lifelong fertility care is another option employers should consider in 2023. An estimated 1.1 billion people worldwide will have experienced menopause by 2025, yet this challenging phase of life is rarely discussed. 70% of those going through or who went through menopause considered making a job-related change to manage symptoms better. With influential women like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama opening up about how extreme menopause symptoms can be, it’s important to keep up with the conversations and offer support people are hesitant to ask for on their own. Low testosterone (low T) is discussed even less, but by age 70, 30% of males will meet the definition of low T, and one study found that 20% of those between the ages of 15-39 had a testosterone deficiency.
As conversations around fertility health continue to expand, employers should look at fertility vendors who consider support for everyone, no matter their age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or geography. These benefits also encourage people to seek care navigation and clinical support, ultimately providing better care that leads to healthier outcomes.
Financial & emotional support for employees
Fertility treatments can be incredibly expensive for families, taking a toll financially and emotionally. The average price of fertility treatment can vary depending on journey type but is often within the range of $5,000 – $75,000. Americans' savings have dropped significantly in the past year. According to the most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the average change over time in prices paid, the all items index increased 7.1% before seasonal adjustment. The economic burden of fertility care alone can be daunting for anyone. But it’s more than just that — fertility treatments and family-forming journeys like adoption are taxing from a time aspect as well. Furthermore, employees face emotional burdens that fertility benefits can help guide employees through. Providing fertility benefits that include care navigation, financial support, and emotional support can all help make these journeys less stressful.
Change is a constant in the economy. Supporting employees’ fertility health and family-forming goals should be, too. By investing in fertility benefits, your company can reduce costs, maintain and expand your commitment to DEI, and win over top talent— even during uncertain times.
Learn more about how to offer fertility benefits at your workplace.