Employers are beefing up benefits packages to attract workers in a tight labor market, and many are adding expensive fertility benefits — such as in vitro fertilization and egg freezing — to their offerings.
Why it matters: Fertility and family-building benefits have long been overlooked by employer health care plans, but that is changing rapidly.
- “You see couples living childless today, and many times it’s their decision, but many times it’s not,” says Gina Bartasi, founder and CEO of the fertility clinic Kindbody.
- Employers can play an important role in helping people find alternative options to grow their families, she says.
What is happening: “Earlier in my career, it was so rare for companies to offer this,” says Alice Vichaita, head of global benefits at Pinterest, which covers fertility services for its global workforce. “More and more companies are becoming aware that this is really an inadequacy in our healthcare system.”
- In the past, many companies have avoided offering fertility benefits because of concerns about the cost, according to a Mercer report. But the increase in the number of fertility clinics – and the growing demand for their services – is driving the price down, says Bartasi.
- 97% of employers who provide this coverage say it has not resulted in a significant increase in medical plan costs, according to a Mercer survey.
By the numbers: 11% of US employers with 500 or more employees covered egg freezing in 2020, up from just 5% in 2015, according to the Mercer study. Looking only at firms with 20,000 employees or more, the 2020 share is 19%.
- Also as of 2020, 58% of employers with 500 or more workers covered evaluations by reproductive doctors and 27% covered IVF.
- Some companies, such as Nike, Johnson & Johnson and IBM, even help with the cost of adoption, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Fertility services are also key from a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective, says Tanner Brunsdale, senior manager of benefits and mobility at Lyft, which offers these benefits.
- Lyft’s benefits have helped employees from all walks of life — including LGBTQ+ couples and single parents — become parents through IVF, sperm and egg donation and other services, he says.
What to watch: Look for fertility services to become a new standard benefit at work.
- “Within the last five years it has really taken off,” says Brunsdale. “It’s kind of table stakes benefits at this point, especially at a tech company where you’re trying to attract strong talent.”
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on January 31.