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Why LGBTQ+ fertility and family-building benefits are essential for every company

In recent years, members of the LGBTQ+ community have achieved victories in the fight for workplace equality while simultaneously continuing to face challenges. For example, data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that while some LGBTQ+ individuals are just as likely, or more likely, to be employed than their non-LGBTQ+ counterparts, they are also more likely to live below the poverty line. And while in 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to protect gay and transgender workers from employment discrimination, a recent study found that only 17% of LGBTQ+ employees agree that their organization cares about their wellbeing. Although companies and leaders have made significant progress in advocating for LGBTQ+ employees, there is still considerable work to be done to fully support individuals within this community — including those who choose to pursue parenthood. 

To better understand the issues and obstacles employees face in the realm of LGBTQ+ fertility benefits, Carrot surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults aged 25-40 and are open to having a family. The results were eye opening, indicating an urgent need for greater inclusivity, support, guidance, and education in the workplace. The results also indicated that employers have a unique opportunity to support their employees by providing comprehensive, gender-affirming care and LGBTQ+ family planning options. Here are some of the key takeaways from Carrot’s 2024 LGBTQ+ Fertility Benefits Survey and a few steps employers can take to better support their employees.

Family planning and fertility benefits are essential to the vast majority of LGBTQ+ employees

According to Carrot’s research, LGBTQ+ employees are embracing parenthood and seeking family-building opportunities. Ninety-one percent of respondents stated that in an ideal world, they would have at least one child, and of those individuals, 90% have considered at least one fertility or family planning strategy. Respondents stated they have explored a variety of options such as adoption, fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), egg/sperm donations, egg/sperm freezing, surrogacy, and fostering. 

Growing advancements and accessibility of these strategies affords LGBTQ+ employees more options for future family planning, but the lack of affordability continues to make these options cost-prohibitive — especially to those lacking comprehensive fertility and family-building benefits in the workplace. One cycle of IVF, for example, can cost $21,600, but because the average patient requires at least two to three cycles, the total cost of treatment can be upwards of $50,000. Gestational surrogacy, which involves a person who did not provide the egg (a surrogate), carrying and birthing a child for a person or couple, starts at an average cost of $136,000, but fees vary widely. 

These financial burdens may very well play a part in why 85% of survey respondents say they feel stressed, anxious, depressed, lacking confidence, confused, frustrated, or overwhelmed when thinking about building a family. Without the support of employer-sponsored LGBTQ+ fertility and family-building benefits, most individuals simply cannot afford to realize their dreams of parenthood. 

Employers play a vital role in supporting LGBTQ+ fertility and family planning

According to Carrot’s survey, lack of employer support is the second most common barrier to family building reported by respondents, second only to the cost of parenthood. This indicates that employer support isn’t a luxury or added bonus for members of the LGBTQ+ community — for many, it is the determining factor in whether they can pursue parenthood at all. The systemic discrimination of LGBTQ+ individuals throughout the healthcare industry has been well documented, and these issues unfortunately extend into the areas of fertility and family planning. Without unequivocal support and guidance from their employers, many LGBTQ+ individuals are unable and unequipped to navigate the institutional and financial challenges of family building.

Survey respondents echo the statistics and data reflected in the research on LGBTQ+ barriers to fertility care and family planning, with 72% saying members of their community face more challenges than others when it comes to building a family. In addition to lack of employer support, financial resources, and knowledge of family-building options, respondents cite fear of discrimination, lack of support from family and friends, difficulty finding LGBTQ+-affirming medical providers as the main barriers to parenthood. 

Notably, 19% of the survey respondents work in the finance and insurance industries — two fields historically considered to be more conservative in benefits offerings. To recognize that employees in these industries, among many others, are demanding change is telling, indicating that employers must prioritize LGBTQ+ fertility and family-building options in order to attract and retain top talent and foster diversity, equity, inclusion (DEI), and belonging. While there is a pressing need for change in the healthcare system and its treatment of LGBTQ+ individuals, employers have the power to dismantle some of the biggest obstacles to fertility and family planning by providing employers with an extensive benefits package that include access to education, financial resources, and unwavering support.

Comprehensive, inclusive fertility benefits are essential for all 

The single most important contribution employers can make in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality and access to family planning opportunities is to offer comprehensive, inclusive fertility benefits for all. The key to identifying and selecting an impactful benefits provider is to consider the importance of offering diverse family building options, inclusive language, mental health support, legal resources, and more. Choosing fertility benefits that are inclusive, flexible, and diverse is key to supporting LGBTQ+ employees — and Carrot can help. 

Ready to learn more about how Carrot’s fertility benefits can help the LGBTQ+ workforce start their unique family-building journeys? Get in touch with us.

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