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. Here are a few reasons why companies are prioritizing fertility benefits in 2022 — for both the good of the company and their employees.
Growing demand for fertility benefits
Leading companies across industries, including Spotify, Facebook, Bank of America, Starbucks, Clif Bar, and Masterclass, have added fertility benefits in recent years. And the trend is growing — in 2020, 61% of employers with more than 500 employees provided at least some infertility coverage. And companies are expanding their offerings, too: in 2022, 63% of employers plan to cover fertility services beyond the diagnosis of infertility.
As awareness of family-forming benefits has grown, they’ve become an important tool in the war for talent — a challenge for employers that has already spilled into 2022. Increasingly, employees expect fertility benefits and will change jobs to get them if they need to. 70% of millennials and 90% of those experiencing infertility are willing to change jobs for fertility benefits. These surveys reiterate what many businesses and employees already know: the demand for fertility care will continue to grow, and businesses must respond if they want to compete for talent.
A common (and growing) diagnosis: infertility
Infertility is becoming an increasingly common reality for many households. In the last 25 years, the number of people diagnosed with infertility has grown by 20%. Infertility impacts one in eight heterosexual couples — about 6.7 million people — in the U.S. alone and 96 million worldwide. And while infertility is a diagnosed medical condition, common misconceptions have led to many not receiving the care they need. For example, it’s common to assume that infertility is primarily a female concern; however, infertility is something that impacts all genders and all sexes. In fact, for heterosexual couples that struggle with infertility, researchers have found the cause is an even split between partners.
Another common misconception? For people diagnosed with female-factor infertility, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is the only treatment option. In reality, though, 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 in addition to expert-guided IVF journeys.
Fertility benefits support everyone, no matter their 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.
Inclusive support for all employees
For the last few years, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts have been at center stage for employers. A crucial part of this is inclusive benefits. A fertility benefit impacts many employees, including LGBTQ+ individuals and couples. One survey found that more than 6 out of every 10 LGBTQ+ couples have said they are interested in starting families, but insurance often does not cover the costs. Similarly, most insurance companies define infertility as a cisgender woman trying to get pregnant for over a year, which, of course, doesn’t include many same-sex couples, transgender couples or individuals, or single parents by choice, forcing them to pay out of pocket.
Companies have begun to recognize the impact of such benefits, with 71% of companies looking into offering fertility benefits to support DEI objectives. In fact, 58% of benefit managers said that they would view it as discriminatory not to offer fertility benefits by 2025. Implementing fertility benefits is growing increasingly crucial for an inclusive workplace.
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.
Upstream & downstream healthcare cost savings for employers
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 specifically can help companies save on upstream costs. Through our telehealth program, we offer 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 towards 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.
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. The economic burden 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.
The bottom line is that fertility benefits should be a top priority for 2022. Fertility benefits support employees emotionally and financially, are a DEI benefit, and help your company compete in the talent war — and all while still saving money for your company.