"I left my job for fertility benefits"

There’s a story behind every resignation. In this episode of our podcast, we talk to someone who left her job, not because of her boss or her workload, but because her benefits didn’t support her goal of becoming a single-intending parent — even after she advocated for coverage.

Podcast Transcript

Show notes:

Carrot's 2021 Fertility at Work survey

[00:00:00] Nancy: You've probably heard about the Great Resignation that made headlines starting in March, 2021. A record number of people quit their jobs that year: 47.4 million in total. This happened for a lot of reasons. Periods of lockdown during the pandemic gave some people time to think about what they really wanted out of work and what a more fulfilling role would look like for them. For others, ongoing issues with childcare and schooling made it impossible to keep working.

[00:00:33] There's a story behind every resignation. Today, I speak with someone who left her job, not because she wasn't happy with her boss or her workload, but because she learned that her company's benefits wouldn't support her dream of becoming an independent parent. This is Baby Steps, a podcast from Carrot Fertility about the intersection of work and fertility health.

[00:00:56] My guest is Aden and her story really speaks to how [00:01:00] employees today are looking to find companies that support them as people not just as workers. But enough about what I think! Let's hear from Aden.

[00:01:12] Aden: My name is Aden. I work in software sales, tech sales, and I live in Austin, Texas.

[00:01:20] Nancy: And you're not from Austin originally, are you?

[00:01:23] Aden: No, I'm not. I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, California.

[00:01:27] Nancy: Nice. What brought you to Austin?

[00:01:29] Aden: I moved here for work and to get out of my living room in the middle of a pandemic, just have a bit of a change of scenery.

[00:01:37] So yeah, it's been really fun. It's an awesome city.

[00:01:40] Nancy: Has your whole career been in software sales or did you start somewhere else?

[00:01:44] Yeah.

[00:01:45] Aden: I, the first, like proper job I had out of college was as the receptionist for a software company and then just bothered the inside sales manager until he left me on the team.

[00:01:57] Nancy: Oh, that's cool.

[00:01:58] What, what kind of drew [00:02:00] you to the sales side?

[00:02:02] Aden: I'm very outgoing and I love people. I'm really interested in people. And the more I kind of learned about sales, I realized it's just being paid to get to know people, which is what I want to do all day anyway. So yeah, just kind of fell into it and haven't looked back.

[00:02:19] Nancy: I feel like that

[00:02:19] connects to your other role as a podcaster or yourself. Could you share a little bit about your podcast?

[00:02:26] Aden: Yeah, I just launched. It's called the Plan A podcast, and it's just going to be following my experience in becoming a parent on my own, becoming an independent mother.

[00:02:39] Nancy: I'd

[00:02:39] love to start off by hearing a little bit about that decision you made.

[00:02:43] How did you, or, or when did you decide that you did want to go that the single mother route

[00:02:48] Aden: about a year ago, like right around when I was moving to Austin, I've always loved kids and known that I wanted kids, but wanted to wait until I really felt that like urge [00:03:00] that people talk about before really thinking about it.

[00:03:03] I wanted to enjoy my twenties and really started feeling that after I hit 30 and wasn't in a serious relationship and sort of thought I'm ready for this now, but do I have to wait or go out and try and wrangle a man or something? And the more I thought about that, it's just, it's so antithetical to how I lead my life and how I think about relationships.

[00:03:31] So it was like, well, I absolutely will not settle for somebody who's not the right person for me. And I also don't need somebody to do anything else that I do in my life. And so the idea of needing somebody else just to become a parent kind of rankled me, they've always known that we're very lucky to live in the technological time that we live in.

[00:03:57] So I always knew that I could like [00:04:00] sperm, donors were a thing, but I hadn't put that much thought into it, just dove into the research and realize the more I thought about it, the more I realized like how many benefits there are to not having to co-parent with somebody else and being able to become a parent the way that I want to.

[00:04:20] Nancy: I know you started your own podcast about this decision and your personal journey. Tell me about that.

[00:04:26] Aden: I started a podcast just because it's very much not, I'm generally a private person. So it was, it was a weird decision to make, but I was just frustrated that I couldn't find a narrative from somebody else similar to me.

[00:04:39] Like there was a couple of things I found from women who chose to become parents on their own or outside of a relationship, but most of them were in their mid forties and this was sort of their last chance to become a parent. And the tone was sort of a bit sad or this was just [00:05:00] not how they had wanted to do it.

[00:05:01] And that's fine. I think people should become a parent, however they can, if that's what they want. There's no wrong way to do it. It's just that that was so opposite to my feeling going into it. I really wanted there to be something out there for people like me talking about this as like a really empowered, strong decision and showing that if you're ready to become a parent, you should just become a parent.

[00:05:27] You don't have to wait for somebody else to do that.

[00:05:30] Nancy: You mentioned you, you started researching, where were you going for resources?

[00:05:35] Aden: Well, oh, I found Carrot to begin with. So obviously I started with the great wide world of Google and, uh, I have a cousin who is a doula and also a single parent, not by choice.

[00:05:50] So asked her a bunch of questions. She pointed me to some resources. I started Googling information about sperm banks and [00:06:00] sperm donors, and egg reserves and all of that stuff. And as you start reading that one of the main things you people continually reference or talk about is the cost of all of these different things.

[00:06:13] The cost of sperm, the cost of fertility treatments, everywhere you turn, this is unfortunately a very expensive decision. So that is kind of how I found Carrot. I started thinking like, oh, well I should find out if any of this is covered by my health insurance, because I've always had decent health insurance through my job. So I looked into that and was pretty shocked to find out what is covered by your normal health insurance. But it's really the extent of what is not covered is probably more accurate. And so I started trying to research fertility insurance to see if there was like an add on I could buy or something to help with this.

[00:06:58] And that's how I found [00:07:00] Carrot. And it was like, oh, this is amazing. Why don't all companies do this? It always annoys me when all of these brands and companies start posting things about how they support women and, you know, respect women and whatnot. And then they offer two weeks of maternity leave and absolutely no fertility coverage or childcare benefits or any of the things that allow us to continue to be in the workforce after we become parents. So, yeah, it was just very drawn by Carrot and what the company is doing and the benefits of that. And then also fell half in love with your founder. She's awesome. I've watched a bunch of her YouTube videos and whatnot.

[00:07:45] If anybody out there hasn't seen them, Tammy Sun, you should check them out.

[00:07:49] Nancy: Thank you so much for the plug and kind of taking a step back to what you found when you were looking into your company's coverage. What did you see? Cause I think that a lot [00:08:00] of people don't realize how limited coverage is for single intending

[00:08:04] parents..

[00:08:05] Aden: Yeah, I was pretty shocked by it. So what is normal for a company is for them to not cover fertility benefits at all, they covered infertility benefits. So for anybody who isn't familiar with, how insurance companies figure out what they cover and what they don't, there's things called insurance codes, which is what, like your doctor has to submit to an insurance company to show like what treatment you've had so they can figure out what to cover and what not to. And so infertility is an insurance code. And generally to be given the status of infertility in order for though any benefits that you might have to kick in, you have to have been trying to conceive a child with an opposite sex partner for at least a year.

[00:08:59] So [00:09:00] obviously right off the bat, that is not inclusive at all of a huge range of people. And then after that, maybe there are some limited help for IVF and whatnot. I actually found that the company I was working for was significantly worse than that, which was pretty shocking for me because you had to have been trying to conceive, not just with an opposite sex partner, but an opposite sex married partner for at least five years before any kind of benefit coverage would kick in. And even then they would only use your husband's sperm. You couldn't use any kind of donor sperm. So if the problem with fertility coverage was your husband in that scenario, you weren't covered either. Frankly, I was pretty fuming after I finally figured that out because.

[00:09:49] Not kind to their employees to say the least,

[00:09:52] Nancy: I feel like that kind of coverage is pretty standard. Like you said, there are companies out there that have much more robust [00:10:00] coverage, but I don't think HR leaders are purposefully excluding people, but I think people just don't realize the fine print when it comes to fertility treatments.

[00:10:10] Aden: Yeah. And again, I would hope to give HR people that like benefit of the doubt that they just haven't looked into what is covered or thought about the inclusivity of medical benefits. I think a lot of people just really go medical benefits or medical benefits, but I would hope that is going to shift because it is frankly discriminatory to have a benefit coverage that requires you to be in a straight relationship to, to have it start working for you.

[00:10:45] Nancy: So,

[00:10:45] what was your next step? Did you start thinking about how you might be able to fund this journey on your own? Or was this when you went to your HR team

[00:10:53] to ask for more support?

[00:10:55] Aden: Yeah, so I started doing both. The first thing I did was [00:11:00] scour Carrots websites. So I wanted to get as much information as I could both to then go to my HR team and see if there was something I could do to change it.

[00:11:11] But then also to have a backup plan in place. Carrots website was awesome. Had a bunch of the statistics that I was looking for and pointed me towards a bunch of other resources to kind of arm myself, with information, to take to the benefits team at the company I was working for. But I also jotted down all of the clients that you had listed on your website and started looking into them to see if any of them were companies that I would be excited to work for in case I couldn't get the benefits at the company I was at to change. So started looking into that and applying to jobs at the same time as I was. I put together. Yeah. A bunch of statistics about fertility benefits and the ROI for companies on that. I reached out to a bunch of women at the [00:12:00] company I was working for to get their anecdotes about their experience with the medical benefits in general.

[00:12:07] And. Maternity and fertility benefits specifically to try and build as strong, a use cases I could. And then I reached out to my HR advisor who put me in touch with the benefits team and sort of presented all of this to them. I had also reached out to the sales team at Carrot to let them know that I was trying to pitch this if they wanted to reach out as well.

[00:12:30] Unfortunately, I got stonewalled at the company I was working for. You know, I tried for a couple months to continue to hit them up with information. Usually a company only has one shot a year to change their medical benefits offering. I was sort of stonewalled and essentially told like maybe next year we'll look into this.

[00:12:52] And I was like, that's too late for me. So I was already interviewing with one of your clients and have since [00:13:00] left the company I was at for greener pastures and better fertility benefits.

[00:13:05] Nancy: That's a

[00:13:05] great story. And for anyone listening, who might be considering requesting fertility benefits, that their company, you really did everything right.

[00:13:13] So kudos to you for putting yourself out there. I also love that you talked to other employees at the company and, and tried to bring in their experiences too. What kind of stories did you hear from your colleagues in terms of the limits of resources that they have?

[00:13:27] Aden: Without getting into the fertility benefits specifically just the medical benefits are clearly not designed for women or for taking care of mothers as a priority.

[00:13:38] So had multiple women tell me that their husbands had better paternity leave then they did maternity leave. So I think that at the company I was at, there was, I think it was two weeks of fully paid maternity leave. And then after that, you could take an additional six weeks, but at 60% of your salary, because you know, your [00:14:00] expenses definitely go down right after you have a baby.

[00:14:04] So that was pretty ridiculous. It was slightly better than that if you had a C-section, but not by much. And then it was also just way, even with those benefits, the amount that women were having to spend out of pocket to give birth to a child was pretty staggering. And then one of the women was talking about, you know, her husband was the one who was having problems with fertility. And then that wasn't covered at all by the benefits that we had. So they had to go into a decent amount of debt to get donor sperm and to do IVF and all of that because they didn't qualify. And when I spoke to her basically said that they wanted to have three kids and instead they had one and they were still paying off the treatments to have one child, which I just think that is [00:15:00] heartbreaking to not get to have the family that you want, especially when you're paying every month out of your paycheck for medical benefits. And it's not covering that basic thing. The basic thing of creating your family, even for a married straight couple is pretty damning.

[00:15:22] Nancy: Great that you had the chance to talk to people. Do you feel like you inspired anyone else to leave the company?

[00:15:29] Aden: I know for a fact that I inspired at least one other woman to leave. So, yeah, I hope so. And then I do know that some of the women who are still there that I talked to are still trying to put pressure on the HR team to, to change for the future. So I really hope that they do that because it's a cool company. I really liked working there. I liked my coworkers and I probably would have stayed a lot longer if I had been offered something like this. That was really the main reason for [00:16:00] me to change positions.

[00:16:02] Nancy: And how long had you been at the company at this point?

[00:16:04] Aden: Been there about a year and a half. My intention when I joined the company was to stay for at least four years. So definitely cut my tenure short.

[00:16:14] Nancy: Great to hear that, that you started a new role and how is that going?

[00:16:18] Aden: It's awesome. Yeah, I'm really liking it so far as is that company that actually walks the walk with not just their benefits, but their culture.

[00:16:28] And I think that's reflective in the benefits that they offer, that they do actually care about employees, not just their performance in role, but their employees over. And when you look at the average tenure at this company, it's six years, which for tech companies like insane.

[00:16:46] Nancy: And have you signed up for Carrot?

[00:16:47] Aden: I sure have. It was one of the first things I did on day one. I've already had my first conversation with a Carrot nurse and talked through what I can get through my benefit. And they connected me [00:17:00] with a fertility clinic in Austin to like actually start kicking this off. So it was pretty exciting.

[00:17:06] Nancy: That's so

[00:17:07] exciting. Um, have you found, uh, a sperm bank that you want to work with? Have they supported you with that piece

[00:17:13] Aden: of it? Yeah, they've given me a couple options that are covered by the benefit, which is great. And then I was speaking with the nurse about my concerns for working with a sperm bank and what I'm looking for.

[00:17:27] And they were able to kind of refine that a bit further and steer me towards one or two of the possible ones that kind of meet my criteria. So, yeah, it's been awesome. So.

[00:17:37] Nancy: You

[00:17:38] mentioned you have, I think you said a cousin who is a single parent, have you been able to connect with other single parents, maybe through your podcast or through other avenues?

[00:17:48] Aden: A little bit. I think the more I talk about this with people, the more it is shocking. How many women actually do this? I think just, they just, it's not spoken about as much because I feel like every time I have a conversation [00:18:00] with somebody new about doing this. Or like, oh yeah, I should. We'll put you in touch with this friend who did this five years ago, or is going through fertility treatments right now or whatever it might be.

[00:18:12] So there's definitely a community out there. And I'm hoping that with my podcast, I get to meet a lot more women choosing to do this and create a bit of a community as well. Cause I think the more normalized you make something and the more support you have from people making similar choices. The easier it is.

[00:18:34] And just it's like with miscarriages, right? Like you don't realize how common they are until all of a sudden you realize almost everybody, you know, what the child has miscarriage story. And the more I talk about this, the more I'm like, oh, everybody knows a woman. That's done this. People just don't talk about it.

[00:18:51] Nancy: And did you

[00:18:52] feel uncomfortable at first talking about this subject at work? You're an outgoing sales person. So maybe it came,

[00:18:58] came naturally?

[00:18:59] Aden: At work [00:19:00] definitely because I think just in general, I think a lot. Oh, I would imagine a lot of women feel similarly, there is a bit of a fear about talking about getting pregnant in general because there's that fear of okay. Well now all they're seeing is that I'm about to become a liability for a certain amount of time. And if I talk about this, is that going to get in the way of promotions or advancements? So yeah, definitely have been hesitant to talk about it until this new position for that reason. Yeah. I think just also while I was still researching beforeI'd fully made the decision to do it I didn't want to talk to too many people about it cause I like to make up my own mind. And not that I don't care about other people's opinions, but I don't care about other people's opinions.

[00:19:51] Nancy: Yeah. That's great. And were your colleagues pretty open to talking to you about it? Once you got the conversation started?

[00:19:59] Aden: Yeah. [00:20:00] I was pleasantly surprised at how open, especially women were about talking about it. Once I was able to broach the subject and they were very supportive in giving me ideas and sharing their experiences and being really honest about the trials that you can experience when you're becoming a parent in general, but then especially navigating the workforce as a parent. I think especially as a mother can be challenging and they were really generous with talking to me about those experiences. That's great. I don't really think I had any negative reaction from women that I've spoken to about this at all.

[00:20:36] Nancy: And

[00:20:36] I love that. I know it didn't ultimately work out with requesting fertility benefits from your employer, but. What advice do you have for HR teams who are looking into this? What do you recommend they consider when thinking about how to better support their employees?

[00:20:53] Aden: I think the main thing I'd recommend is just talk to your employees, talk to your workforce, solicit opinions.

[00:20:58] People know that [00:21:00] this is something you're considering, because I think one, a lot of people don't know that fertility benefits are a thing that exists. I didn't, until I started looking into this, a lot of people wouldn't know to advocate for this. If, unless you let them know that it's an option, then listen to what they say.

[00:21:18] Because the best thing that you can do as an HR team for the company overall is make sure that you're retaining good talent. And you're keeping people there as long as they want to be there. And if you can help them do something as essential as create their family, that is an incredible way to inspire loyalty among your employees.

[00:21:40] And that's only going to help you not just retain talent, but then attract the people that you really want. I think there's really only the more you think about it. There's only upside to something like this.

[00:21:58] Nancy: After I talked with Aden about her [00:22:00] experience, I shared our conversation with my colleague at Carrot, Leslie. Leslie is our chief human resources officer, and I thought she would have an interesting perspective to add.

[00:22:11] Thanks so much for joining us Leslie.

[00:22:13] Leslie: Yeah, thanks for having me.

[00:22:15] You listened to my interview with Aden ,she talked about asking for fertility benefits at her job and it ultimately didn't work out. So she left and actually went to a customer. What did you think of the story?

[00:22:30] Honestly, it was quite touching actually and a bit empowering to know that Aden had the courage to really dive into the needs that they had and arguably make a decision to move to another organization to support their efforts around family forming.

[00:22:45] Nancy: And have you ever been on the other side of , story? As someone who responds to employee questions about what coverage is available or tries to address gaps that might

[00:22:57] Aden: exist.

[00:22:58] Leslie: So I've spent a good [00:23:00] part of the last, I'll say, I don't know, 10, 15 years my career in HR. So definitely come across a variety of situations with respect to benefits or different asks from an employee standpoint.

[00:23:11] And I think as HR leaders, you really want and do empathize with the needs of your employees. And oftentimes you can get, I don't know if stuck is the right word, but you can get caught up in and budget concerns and things like that, which really can hinder making a quick decision. I will say over the years, and especially into today, I think employers are more and more open and I think, and having conversations with the employers.

[00:23:36] The more that I can gather additional interest and an understanding of the impact it's really having on people's lives. It's easier to sell that to other powers that be every organization is a little bit different, but I do think we want to do our best to create a holistic or collective program that supports the needs of our employees.

[00:23:53] Nancy: Yeah. It sounds like sometimes an employer might not think there's really a need for it. Like it's kind of a niche.

[00:23:59] Leslie: Yeah, [00:24:00] absolutely. Especially if it's just a one-off or something that's not as common or historically been as common. I think that's changing though. I really do. I think the last, especially a couple of years, I think COVID changed the dynamics quite a bit on employee and employer relationships and the expectations that employees have, and employers can obviously

[00:24:18] address.

[00:24:19] Nancy: I know

[00:24:19] we talk a lot of carrot about the great resignation and go bore for talent. And we had a survey last year that found. I think it was 88% of people who respond to our survey said that they would change jobs for fertility benefits. I mean, we were targeting people who, you know, were kind of interested in the fertility topic, but that's obviously a huge

[00:24:39] number.

[00:24:40] Leslie: It's a very large number. I agree, but I'm not surprised. I really not. I do think. Like I said, viewing things a little bit differently over the last few years, in terms of, I don't know if I call it expectations, but the integration between work and life has really shifted quite a bit. So it's not a matter of balance.

[00:24:57] It's how do you integrate that? And I think [00:25:00] employee. Job candidates or prospective candidates are looking to an employer as part of their support system with that comes a lot more than just

[00:25:08] Nancy: a

[00:25:08] paycheck. Were you surprised in Aden's story that her employer in this day and age did end up turning her down a

[00:25:15] Leslie: little bit?

[00:25:16] And I'll tell you why I say a little bit I'm surprised and without the context of, of exactly the conversations that took place made and shared a lot of those details. I'm surprised they potentially didn't explore it in a little bit more detail and the option versus maybe perhaps making a relatively swift decision on that.

[00:25:33] I would like to believe that we are trying to be as, and I say we meaning a collective employer as inclusive as possible. And as I mentioned early on, you know, really empathizing and understanding the variety of needs that our employees are bringing into the workforce. So a little surprised the decision was made perhaps without a bit more due diligence before.

[00:25:54] Nancy: I

[00:25:54] mean, obviously now you work here at Carrot, but have you talked with other people in the HR [00:26:00] community about fertility benefits and how the demand is?

[00:26:03] Leslie: I have actually. I have a pretty strong network. The great thing about HR is a very open kind of forum of our community, of HR professionals and leaders and whatnot.

[00:26:12] So there's a lot of talk, right? If that's why we're in this profession, we like to talk. So people do share a bit and I actually am seeing a lot more curiosity about. Hard to say, if people aren't making immediate decisions on it, but people are exploring, have others done this? What have you looked at? You know, who are the vendors that you're checking out?

[00:26:29] How have you rolled it out? What are some things that we can do to support our collective employee community in this respect? So I do see it coming up more and more. And even in previous employers that I've worked with have since implemented a day a fertility benefit. So that's been super exciting at Carrot.

[00:26:45] Nancy: When you were at those former employers, had they considered fertility benefits or did they kind of start that process after you moved on a little bit

[00:26:53] Leslie: of both? We did talk about it. We really did. And in fact, it was brought up by an employee who had experienced [00:27:00] fertility challenges. They had sent successfully conceived and welcome to a healthy baby boy, but they did bring this up to me and it was something we had on the docket to consider for the following year.

[00:27:11] I obviously left the company and I'm happy to see that they were able to move it for.

[00:27:15] Nancy: That's great to hear. Yeah. So do you have any advice for other HR leaders who are considering offering fertility benefits? Are there any kind of like misconceptions you've heard or, or anything that.

[00:27:28] Leslie: I think the

[00:27:28] biggest misconception is perhaps is this going to be a benefit that's fully leveraged or, you know, as applicable to all.

[00:27:34] And I can speak obviously about Carrot and what we offer on that front. But I think that's probably the biggest thing is that people do often associate fertility benefits with the more traditional IVF or cis-gender individual going through some challenges, cisgender women going through challenges with respect to fertility.

[00:27:52] It's obviously so much more and the applicability across all genders, sexual orientation. You name it from a demographic perspective [00:28:00] is something I really. Challenge and encourage HR leaders to think about. Cause I think that's probably the biggest miss right now or misunderstanding. I should say. The other side of that is we've talked about this and I know the survey we've rolled out really touches on this as well, but the stigma behind.

[00:28:17] Fertility and infertility it's alive and kicking, unfortunately. And I think the more that we can open the door and make this okay. To talk about the reality is we'll see much more penetration within employers and employees actually seeking it. I think it's just one of those things that people are, have historically been afraid to talk about for a variety of reasons.

[00:28:36] Nancy: I think in our survey was a little under half of people said that they didn't feel comfortable even bringing it up. It was great to hear from Aden that, that she was. You didn't really brave enough to make those requests, but it is, you know, uncomfortable and depending on the workplace environment, people might not want to even open that door.

[00:28:54] I've heard people say, oh, then I'm worried. My boss will think, oh, well, she's just going to go on parental leave soon [00:29:00] then. But it's really not about that. There is that stigma

[00:29:02] still

[00:29:03] Leslie: there is I do challenge employees to, to speak up. We all can affect change in our own ways. And as employees, it's a great opportunity to bring this up.

[00:29:11] I mean, I applaud Aden for doing it, but I also think about how many others have not said anything and sort of. I don't wanna say suffered in silence, but sat in silence because they felt like to your point, is this something that's going to be a reflection of my commitment to the company? Or is it, am I going to come across as, you know, overly vulnerable or whatever, being a fill in the blanks of what that might, that feeling might be.

[00:29:34] Nancy: Are there some maybe anonymous ways that HR leaders can kind of try and solicit interest in this?

[00:29:40] Leslie: Absolutely. I think across industries and obviously size companies, et cetera, employee engagement is a big measure metric of how we're doing as an HR of discipline, right? How engaged our employees. We have the right programs, et cetera in place.

[00:29:53] I think historically the people have shifted toward how people are feeling at work. So they feel included, et cetera, et cetera. Is a [00:30:00] great vehicle. And those surveys are often anonymous to begin to ask questions and it doesn't have to be super obvious benefit related questions, although that's a great start.

[00:30:07] There's different ways you can begin to pull some of those things out. So I think that's one way employee resource groups or affinity groups or community groups, whatever they might be. That is a great vehicle to really understand and get a voice of the employees, particularly the specific demographics.

[00:30:25] Right? So when we talk about being inclusive, a lot of organizations may have an LGBTQ plus CRG or. Uh, women of a particular organization or, you know, many others, but that's also a fantastic vehicle to really understand, you know, what what's happening. Sometimes those conversations are within concentrated groups and they can be strong allies to help advocate for these types of benefits.

[00:30:48] Nancy: Yeah. That's a great way to get more power in numbers to take it more people. Asking as well. I thought it was great that Aden did talk to so many other people at the company who share their experience with the parental leave policy is as [00:31:00] well as the healthcare policy.

[00:31:02] Leslie: It's great to see what's out there in terms of social media.

[00:31:05] There's a lot of power there. There's the campaign of show us your leave and people talk about the different benefits related to not just parental leave, but things like fertility and others that are out there. So I think the more that we can raise awareness in general, I think the more people will.

[00:31:20] Feel empowered to tackle it within their own organizations.

[00:31:25] Nancy: The show us

[00:31:25] your leave campaign. I think it was started by the Skimm,, really gone viral on LinkedIn. I've seen people talk about fertility benefits in that context, as well as parental leave and all these other pieces that kind of fall under that umbrella.

[00:31:38] So the job seeker at the moment really has the power to ask for these things and to find companies that have what they're looking for. I

[00:31:47] Leslie: agree. I think it's a wonderful, maybe shift a little bit, not so much. I don't wanna use the word power, but it is a shift in voice and I I'm happy to see it. I

[00:31:54] Nancy: also like that.

[00:31:54] You mentioned people think about IVF when they think of fertility benefits, but Aden, I [00:32:00] think is a great example of this. A single intending parent IVF could end up being the path that she goes down, but there's also so much hassle involved. So finding donor spur or men and dealing with some of the legal aspects involved in that.

[00:32:13] And then deciding which medical path for getting pregnant is right for her. But IVF is not the default and that's.

[00:32:21] Leslie: Yeah, absolutely. And I think you make a good point about different paths to parenthood. Not everybody thinks about all those aspects. And so while having a fertility benefit that covers IVF is a fantastic start and maybe it's financial support, maybe it's other aspects of that, but there are so many other avenues to take into consideration like surrogacy or gestational carriers or adoption, just to name a few.

[00:32:43] I think the more inclusive employers can be as they think through that, uh, the more benefit they're going to gain from rolling something like this out in more impact I'll have, what

[00:32:52] Nancy: would you like to leave our listeners with as we wrap up today's episode?

[00:32:56] Leslie: I will say, and I'll say this in full transparency, just [00:33:00] being at a different stage in my life.

[00:33:01] I have the privilege of having two wonderful kids. I went through my own challenges on my pregnancy and family forming journey for sure, but I'm also hitting a different stage in my life. And when I think about fertility, As you know, Nancy and that encompasses things like menopause and low testosterone.

[00:33:17] And so I encourage employers to be thinking about all the generations that are in their workforce, because it's not just necessarily the ones who are at the age of thinking about family forming or thinking maybe in the future of what that looks like, but they also have the later stages in life where this type of fertility health can be incredibly powerful.

[00:33:35] and helpful.

[00:33:36] It's really

[00:33:36] Nancy: not as narrow as some people might think. Absolutely. Someone might hear Aden's story and say, oh, there aren't really that many people who are going to be single intending parents, for example, but it actually impacts people of all ages and all paths. So, yeah. Thanks for calling that out.

[00:33:51] Leslie: It really

[00:33:51] does in many different ways, right? Not just about someone building their family, but the impact that it has on them from an emotional perspective and mental perspective, there's just, there's so many [00:34:00] facets to a journey like this and fertility health overall.

[00:34:06] Nancy: Well, Leslie, it was such a pleasure having you share your experience, working with employees and the way you think about fertility coverage, from your perspective as an HR leader. So thanks so much for coming on the podcast.

[00:34:18] Leslie: Oh, it's been such a privilege to be here. I appreciate you including me.

[00:34:24] Nancy: If you want to check out the survey that Leslie and I talked about, there's a link to it in the show notes. I also included a link to Aden's podcast plan a

[00:34:38] To learn more about Carrot, visit carrotfertility.com. Baby Steps is produced and edited by Eric Montgomery and Christopher Olin. To get notified when new episodes are released, subscribe to Baby Steps on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening.[00:35:00] .

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