Does your employer offer fertility benefits? Learn why they should.
It’s estimated that one in eight American couples struggle to build a family. But even though the World Health Organization considers infertility to be “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse”, few companies’ insurance benefits cover the cost of treatment.
A single round of in-vitro fertilization can cost upwards of $20,000 and often requires more than one try. And, infertility not only impacts the wallet, it also has psychological impacts through depression, anxiety and distress. These side symptoms can significantly impact employees’ well-being and productivity.
On a national level, the plight of couples and women experiencing infertility received more attention when big-name companies like Facebook, Google and Starbucks began offering benefits to their employees a few years ago. Starbucks offers one of the best company benefits, with part-time employees receiving infertility coverage after just one month on the job. Companies including Bank of America, Tesla and Spotify offer unlimited IVF coverage to their workers. Firms that offer fertility benefits report a greater sense of loyalty and commitment from their employees.
Locally, the list of companies in Louisiana offering fertility benefits is spotty, but increasing every year. Employers such as LSU, Woman’s Hospital, Eagle Federal Credit Union and Aggreko are just a handful of companies on the list of Louisiana employers who offer fertility benefits. These benefits range from baseline treatment to lifetime caps on treatment to unlimited treatment depending on the company.
Fertility Answers patient Hannah Beck Lawson knows first-hand how valuable this employment benefit can be. Having struggled with polycystic ovary syndrome since she was a teenager, Hannah knew getting pregnant later would be a challenge. Like most Americans, Hannah and her husband Jonathan’s medical insurance policies through their respective employers offered zero coverage for fertility treatments.
That’s when they heard that Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge offered fertility treatment insurance benefits to their employees. Hannah, who has a liberal arts background and had plans to become a librarian, quickly enrolled in phlebotomy school. After obtaining her certification in May of 2017, Hannah applied and was hired by Woman’s Hospital as a phlebotomist.
“I was ecstatic because of the doors this job opened in my life,” says Hannah on her decision to change her career to get fertility insurance coverage. Through her newfound insurance benefits, she was able to go through IVF and is now pregnant with her first child. “It was a difficult decision to change the trajectory of my life and career for the opportunity to become a parent,” says Hannah, “but I definitely don’t regret it.”
Offering fertility benefits is a win-win for companies
By offering fertility treatment coverage, companies send an important message of inclusivity and support to a diverse workforce longing to start a family. Offering fertility benefits also can reinforce a company’s values and can be used as a recruiting tool.
So why don’t more companies offer benefits for fertility treatments? Probably one reason is that they have yet to feel compelled to do so. But as fertility treatments become more mainstream as women become mothers later in life and as more single people and same-sex couples opt to have children, the public demand for coverage will increase. And we believe more companies in the future will understand how offering fertility coverage can positively affect their bottom line.
Does your employer offer fertility benefits? If you are unsure of your benefits contact your human resources representative for help or do your own research, whether by talking to colleagues, reading the fine print in paperwork or going online.
For a list of Louisiana employers that we know of who offer fertility benefits, check this list.