There is some excellent news! Because infertility is rampant, there are some very smart employers who are offering fertility benefits. The credit goes out to the awareness that people who have suffered from infertility have created, and it finally has made a difference.
Infertility is defined as either a failure to conceive or maintain a pregnancy after 12 months, or having a known condition that affects fertility even before trying for a baby has not started. In fact, the American Medical Association (AMA) has recognized infertility as a disease in June of 2017.
Fortunately, there are methods that can help couples who are struggling with infertility to have a baby which are in-vitro fertilization(IVF), artificial or intrauterine insemination (IUI), ovarian stimulation, and other fertility drugs or surgery.
Unfortunately, infertility is rampant, and these treatments are incredibly expensive. There is a large percentage of couples around the world who have to overcome infertility before they can have their own biological kids which can take many years to do, not to mention it is very costly financially, mentally, and emotionally.
If fertility treatments end up failing, couples either try to use donor eggs or sperm, may hire a surrogate, or adopt if they want to go through that route. However, those options are costly and not easy either. Sadly, many who have not been able to achieve that, end up becoming childless and may adopt pets instead.
However, in more instances than not, infertility can be overcome especially if it is from mild to moderate and achieving a healthy pregnancy and baby does happen.
And as mentioned previously, going through fertility treatments is very costly, and couples who are going through it pray that something does work.
And the good news is, more and more companies are beginning to offer fertility benefit plans to employees and new recruits. That is because thanks to the education and awareness about infertility, it has finally made a dent. They are doing this as well because they want to keep their employees and if their employees are unhappy, they will either have a poor work ethic or quit if they find another company that has better plans.
There are about 15 states where fertility and infertility benefits are mandated by the state legislature. The types of coverage will vary from seeing a reproductive endocrinologist, fertility specialist, the type of medication as well as how much it will cover expensive treatments such as IVF.
Employers of different markets such as retail, tech, telecom, and professional services want to provide family-friendly fertility benefits to their employees. In fact, close to 70% of large companies offer some sort of fertility assistance as part of their health insurance plans. But the great news is that this is spreading to smaller companies, and eventually all companies will be able to provide fertility treatment coverage to their employees.
There are some insurance plans that already offer coverage to larger companies which includes covering complete access to a fertility specialist, egg or sperm donor, egg freezing, fertility drugs, IUI, IVF, even surrogacy and adoption are included.
Research has also shown that 68% of millennials are taking coverage for fertility preservation such as egg freezing and take this into consideration when they are looking for an employer. Since many millennials want to wait to have kids until their careers have been well established, and that they have lived their lives by traveling or whatever they choose to do before settling down, they want to have their eggs preserved. If an employer does not offer egg-freezing coverage, then talent will be lost. Therefore, employers must include this in their insurance plans in order to maintain talent and job loyalty, and hire millennials that want to work for their companies.
The problem lies in the fact that a woman’s most productive and professional years conflict with her most fertile years. The truth is that some companies would rather hire women in their 20’s and 30’s as opposed to women in their 40’s and 50’s when their childbearing years come to an end. It sounds like age discrimination but it is a fact. Many couples prefer younger women to hire because older women are more set in their ways, have certain expectations, and sometimes too much experience which ironically is not what many companies want.
The other problem is that career-oriented women tend to finish up school later, especially if they are studying law or medicine and end up starting their careers in their later 20’s, and need to establish themselves before settling down and having a family, which means they will be in their late 30’s to early ’40s by the time they get to that point.
The problem with women who are waiting that long to have kids is that women have a smaller number of eggs left, the eggs are not as healthy, and they are more likely to have health conditions that can cause infertility. Older women are also more likely to have miscarriages.
This is why egg freezing is very important for women who are in their 20’s and early 30’s so they don’t face problems with conceiving when they are older. And data conducted by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine shows that 1/3 of women will have difficulty conceiving after the age of 35, and 2/3 of women will not be able to conceive without treatment if they try to get pregnant over 40.
Therefore, fertility benefits that can reduce costs for couples undergoing fertility treatments and consultations with their specialists, and improve health outcomes are appealing for employees. There are also many LGBT couples and same-sex couples who want to have kids that will need this help as well. There are even single men and women who want kids, who will need to hire a surrogate (for men) or a sperm donor (for women) that will need this help.
Because of everything mentioned above, it is absolutely necessary for employers to offer fertility benefits in their insurance plans so they can keep their employees loyal, happy, retain talent, and be able to hire new employees as well.