Jake and Deborah Anderson-Bialis, pictured with their children, started the fertility education site FertilityIQ after spending about $ 70,000 to have their children.
Melissa Schmidt, FertilityIQ ‘
As employers try to attract new workers and retain those they have, they are increasingly turning to fertility benefits.
In fact, the trend has been moving upward over the past few years. In 2021, the number of large companies offering or improving their family building benefit grew by 8% year-on-year, according to FertilityIQ. These may include egg freezing, drug therapy, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The fertility education website expects to report even larger numbers for this year based on data it has collected.
“We’re seeing dramatic and staggering expansion,” said Jake Anderson-Bialis, FertilityIQ’s co-founder.
“I don’t think any of us could have foreseen extending the generosity of coverage to normal employers.”
Attention has begun to increase as companies have focused more on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. It is also a way for companies to stay competitive in the battle for talent.
I do not think any of us could have foreseen the generosity of coverage being extended to normal employers at normal companies today.
Co-founder of FertilityIQ
A separate survey by Mercer in 2021 found that 42% of large companies, with 20,000 or more employees, covered IVF in 2020, compared to 36% in 2015, and 19% covered egg freezing, more than 6% in 2015. For those with 500 or more workers, 27% covered IVF, compared to 24% six years earlier.
“Employers recognize that their employees start their families later in life for a variety of reasons,” said Betsy Campbell, chief engagement officer at Resolve: The National Infertility Association.
They also recognize that families are built in a variety of ways, including single parents and same-sex couples.
“They have to keep up with the times,” she said.
The benefits can have a huge impact on those who need them.
Christine Carroll, 31, went to see a fertility specialist after trying unsuccessfully for several years to conceive with her husband, Chris.
Christine Carroll, along with her husband Chris, has fertility benefits through her employer, Ally Financial.
Fortunately, she had insurance coverage thanks to her employer, Ally Financial. Over the past two years, she has had to pay only about $ 1,000 out of pocket for medical tests and various IUI treatments. Ally raised nearly $ 8,000 in medical expenses.
Soon, Carroll will begin her first IVF cycle, which she was told could cost anything from $ 22,000 to $ 30,000 per round. Her employer covers a total of three cycles.
“I had that peace of mind during this trip when it came to finances, but putting the numbers on paper really makes you humble,” says Carroll, who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
More from Invest in You:
These 10 companies help pay for their employees’ vacations
What Gen Z and millennials want from their employers
85% of those who negotiated a job offer were successful. Here’s how to do it
FertilityIQ’s Anderson-Bialis did not have that peace of mind while he and his wife, Deborah, went through fertility treatments.
The couple spent a total of about $ 70,000 to eventually have their two children.
“It attacks you financially, emotionally and in every possible way,” he said.
Benefits for the employer
When companies offer fertility insurance benefits, the result is employee loyalty, FertilityIQ’s 2019-2020 Family Building Workplace Index found.
About 61% of employees who received the coverage said they felt more loyal and committed to their employer, 73% were more grateful and 53% stayed longer. A full 88% of women who had their IVF paid in full by their employer in 2017 returned to that employer after their maternity leave, according to the index.
Then there are the cost benefits.
“Employers may not realize that they are already paying the price for not providing these benefits,” Campbell said.
When IVF is covered by insurance, there are lower rates of multiple births, which is very expensive, she explained.
“If a patient pays out of pocket for IVF, they are going to put pressure on their doctor to transfer more than one embryo because they think it leads to a greater chance of pregnancy,” Campbell said.
“Single embryo transfer is the safer, usually more medically effective route,” she added. “Yet they feel this pressure, this financial pressure to do something else.”
Anderson-Bialis believes that fewer families will soon have to feel that pinch.
“You are going to reach an inflection point at some point where most large employers in every major market will decide to pay for this and the rest will have to come in line,” he said.
“We’ve reached the turning point. I think it’s the year.”
SIGN UP: Money 101 is an 8-week financial freedom learning course, delivered weekly to your inbox. Click here for the Spanish version Dinero 101.
SIGN OUT: Meet a 34-year-old who sold more than 11,000 items on Etsy and earned nearly $ 3,500 a month in passive income with Acorns + CNBC
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.