Trading Silent Nights for Bundles of Joy: The Life-Changing Gift of Fertility Benefits

December 14, 2019      By Karina Schultheis

Ultimate Takeaway
  • Despite an increased emphasis on employee benefits, fertility benefit offerings are still rare in both large and small companies
  • One in eight couples struggle with infertility
  • Offering fertility benefits has been shown to result in more grateful, engaged, and loyal employees

In an effort to both do right by their people and recruit top talent, many employers of choice are doubling-down on employee-focused benefits such as flexible work schedules, unlimited paid time off, tuition reimbursement, and competitive 401(k) matches. But for a smaller (yet substantial) segment of the workforce, one longed-for benefit remains woefully under-prioritized: fertility benefits.

Approximately one in eight couples suffer from infertility, a diagnosed medical condition with many different (and often unexplained) root causes. If you haven’t experienced infertility yourself, it’s likely you are close to someone who has. Most employers provide financial support and medical insurance to help employees with life-and-death diagnoses, but the vast majority still refuse to fund life-giving fertility treatments.

Heightened Demand for Fertility Treatments

Meanwhile, the demand for these treatments is skyrocketing. In 1999, approximately 30,000 babies were born with the help of fertility clinics; in 2018, that figure was more than 500,000.

And, in the U.S. at least, 71% of these patients paid for their treatment with little to no support from their insurance carriers. On average, IVF costs more than $20,000/round and intrauterine insemination (IUI) costs nearly $1,000/round. Couples often have to go through multiple rounds of either treatment before they are able to maintain a successful pregnancy.

For many people longing to start or grow their families, these costs are prohibitively expensive. The majority of women who seek medical advice from fertility clinics never come back after testing and treatment price consultations.

Employers Offer Hope

Fortunately, as employers continue to prioritize employee wellness and experience initiatives, many employers of choice are beginning to invest in fertility benefits. According to FertilityIQ, more than 400 U.S. businesses and organizations now have policies in place to cover fertility benefits, and almost 25% of these substantially enhanced their offerings in 2019. Noteworthy improvements include increased benefit maximums; removing “pre-authorizations” that can significantly delay care; and equal opportunities for LGBTQ or unmarried employees.

ROI for Organizations

As with all employee well-being initiatives, participating employers enjoy a significant return on their investment. Patients who received full coverage for their treatment cycles reported feeling 78% more grateful and 61% more loyal to their organizations as a result of their investment in their families. What’s more, they stayed an average of 56% longer than they would have had they not taken advantage of these benefits.

If covering 100% of multiple IVF procedures isn’t feasible for your organization, there are still many opportunities to support these employees.  Fertility treatments such as IUI are much cheaper than IVF or egg freezing, and other benefits—such as subsidized acupuncture, meditation, or therapy—can be extremely beneficial for patients trying to conceive. Another option is to provide a set dollar amount that can be used toward a wide range of treatments, adoption, or surrogacy.

Infertility is emotionally, physically, and financially taxing. By implementing fertility benefits, you have the opportunity to completely change the lives of your people—and it doesn’t get more people-first than that.

At Ultimate Software, we offer all our employees extensive fertility coverage, including up to six rounds of IUI and three complete rounds of IVF. Check out our careers page to learn more about our benefits offerings as well as the overarching culture that made us Glassdoor’s #8 Best Place to Work in 2020.

To learn more about how to tailor your benefits plans to meet specific employee needs (and how to determine what the majority of your people actually want), check out this free perks & benefits guide.

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