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If Your Company Doesn’t Offer Fertility Benefits, It’s Behind the Times

Only 30 percent of companies offer some type of fertility coverage. Here’s why that’s quickly changing.

Infertility struggles can be isolating and financially daunting–but not if employers step up.

Starting a family with my husband did not come as easily as we thought it would. After being diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” we set off on a journey we didn’t expect.

When you’re going through IVF treatment, you experience the highest of highs followed by the lowest of lows. You expect to pay a certain amount for IVF, do a cycle, and have a child–but in most cases, it’s not that simple. No one talks about the roadblocks along the way.

Infertility impacts approximately one in eight Americans, according to the CDC. When you consider the high cost of treatment and add in the emotional and physical toll of the process, it’s understandable why this dream feels out of reach for so many. It’s a particularly sobering thought that so many couples will never have the opportunity to experience pregnancy because of financial barriers.

When trying for our first baby, my husband Rob and I went through several rounds of IVF, paying mostly out of pocket. Our bills piled up and yet we felt no closer to having a child. We thought IVF would feel more like a sprint, and we’d be parents in no time, but it turned into a marathon. Our emotions crashed after my fifth failed IVF protocol. A lot of guilt set in around the amount of money we had spent and the emotional and physical hardship we experienced with nothing to show for it.

The road had been long, but Rob and I were not ready to give up. Knowing our case was difficult, we decided to seek out a very well-known doctor in another state to get a new perspective on how to treat our infertility. Success arrived–literally–as a result of our sixth cycle. We welcomed a beautiful baby girl into this world in January of 2019!

After our first child was born, we wanted to try for a second baby, but were concerned about traveling down that path again. How many IVF cycles would it take? Could we afford to return to the out-of-state clinic that found us success, or did we need to find a different local clinic?

Here’s How My Employer Helped with Fertility Costs–And Yours Can Too

I have always been very open about my journey in the hopes that others will find comfort and solace in knowing they are not alone. It’s a sensitive topic that not everyone wants to share–especially with their employer.

Because I had shared my struggles with infertility with my manager at work, this topic became top of mind for our director and HR team and inspired discussions around offering employer-sponsored fertility coverage for our employees who want to grow their families.

I was overjoyed to find out that Delta Dental decided to provide fertility coverage through Progyny, a company that focuses on fertility benefits and access to treatment coverage, guidance and fertility specialists. I remember looking across the room at my director with tears in my eyes and smiling at each other. Now we would be able to provide support to all of our employees who struggle with fertility issues and help them on their path of growing their families.

I knew this was a benefit I would be able to use when the time was right to continue expanding our family while saving significantly on the costs of IVF treatments. As previously mentioned, with our first pregnancy, we sought a very well-known doctor out of state for our final IVF cycle that led us to our first baby girl. That doctor came with a higher price tag, requiring more tests and travel costs. When we tried for our second child, we knew we wanted to return to the place that we had found success the first time around. An employer-sponsored fertility benefit made this a reality for us yet again, especially since it allowed us to save over 60 percent on treatment costs.

The fact that my employer invested in fertility coverage makes me feel like they invested in me. I felt supported in my infertility journey and knew I could be honest and open about it. With an increased focus on diversity, inclusion and gender equity, it’s no surprise that more companies are seeing the pros of providing family-friendly benefits for parents.

Why Employers Should Offer Fertility Benefits

My career in recruiting and talent acquisition has allowed me to see the value a company can gain from listening to their employees and providing the benefits they truly need.

As more women take over the workforce and plan on starting families later in life, the need to support them in the workplace is on the rise. By offering fertility coverage, a company shows its commitment to supporting a diverse workforce longing to start a family. Sadly, only 30 percent of companies offer some type of fertility coverage, according to a report by IFEBP.

The good news is the demand for employer-sponsored fertility coverage is out there, and companies have a lot to gain from it. More than 32 percent of employees indicated that they would stay with a company longer if they were offered a fertility benefit, according to a recent FertilityIQ survey.

What may have once felt like a taboo topic in the workplace is now becoming top of mind for HR leaders. Employees are realizing that there are companies out there that are offering comprehensive benefit options that meet their needs. In fact, nine out of 10 employees that experience fertility issues said they would switch jobs for a company that offers this kind of coverage.

By offering fertility coverage, a company is not only providing a helping hand to their employees, they are also sending a message of support. They’re not just saying they’re an inclusive company, they are putting action behind it.

Simply put, the value of adding fertility coverage as part of a comprehensive healthcare offering far outweighs the upfront costs of providing the benefit itself–and it helps a group that oftentimes goes unrecognized in the workplace.

Continuing Open and Honest Conversations Around Infertility

For hopeful parents who are on the IVF journey, an employer that breaks the stigma of infertility and supports them is just another champion in their corner as they go through the arduous and daunting process.

I would encourage anyone to have an open and honest conversation with HR about this option and see if there is an opportunity for their company to get ahead of the curve and provide fertility benefits–you just might find out they already do!

We took a gamble going through IVF time after time after time, but it worked out in the end. We have a beautiful, healthy toddler and another baby on the way. Both were worth every shot, tear and treatment. We had to play with our finances to make it work and prioritize what was important to us. Delta Dental’s fertility coverage helped us cut costs when trying for baby No. 2–which allowed us to stress less about finances and focus more on becoming pregnant.

Back in March of 2020, I joined the Stork Foundation to continue helping families on their journey to parenthood. In our first year of operation, we were able to award three grants, giving hope to three couples in their fight for parenthood. Fertility treatments are not guaranteed, but the ability to give hope and opportunity to those suffering from infertility and fighting for their dream of parenthood is a cause I am thankful to be a part of. After everything we’ve gone through, our next chapter is the fight for others.

It’s important to remember we are not alone in this battle and the more we talk about it, the more we ignite proactive conversations around infertility and affect meaningful change.


With over a decade of recruiting experience, Sonya Heer works as a Talent Acquisition Operations Manager at Delta Dental. Sonya is also a Board Member of the Stork Foundation, a nonprofit founded to provide financial assistance to low resource individuals who require costly medical infertility treatments that would otherwise be out of financial reach. Sonya has been married for over seven years to her husband Rob. Together, they have an exuberant toddler, Cecilia, and another baby on the way.

Career

Only 30 percent of companies offer some type of fertility coverage. Here’s why that’s quickly changing.

Infertility struggles can be isolating and financially daunting–but not if employers step up.

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