More and more, employers are offering family-building benefits with much more than just parental leave as part of their core compensation packages. In fact, these benefits are integral to attracting and retaining diverse talent, including heterosexual and same-sex couples, as well as single-intended parents, and to attracting top candidates across all industries. Increasingly, a benefits package that includes family building can often be the deciding factor in whether a candidate decides to accept a role.
How Family-Building Benefits Have Evolved Over the Years
Early on, maternity leave was one of the only family benefits offered by companies, with the exception being infertility coverage in states where it was legally mandated. In the early stages, infertility insurance solely addressed clinical infertility diagnoses, only providing coverage for assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Like with most new benefits, early adopters here included tech and financial services firms in coastal cities, which often spark workplace trends. Banking and law firms followed with more built-out plans.
What sparked the biggest leap forward has been the Great Resignation, which pushed employers to enhance benefits offerings to attract and retain in-demand talent. Employers across geographies and industries realized that family-building benefits were key in reaching talent as workers prioritized employers they perceived as more supportive of their family-building goals. As a result, companies are building out innovative family-building offerings that cater to employees of all ages and backgrounds rather than just women.
Coverage of These Benefits Is Growing
Family-building benefits are understood to be necessary in supporting today’s workforce, as costs are high for individuals. In the United States, it can be $30,000 per cycle for IVF; $90,000 to $130,000 for surrogacy; or $50,000 for adoption. Because of these high costs, workers often feel that a managed family-building benefit is a critical part of their compensation package.
In response, companies are increasingly offering programs that cover a variety of services without requiring a clinical infertility diagnosis. Now, programs often cover costs associated with genetic testing, egg and sperm freezing, adoption, surrogacy, reproductive behavioral and dietary coaching, lactation and parenting support, and more. The benefit size has also increased; now, many companies enhance available medical insurance with annual benefits as large as $30,000–$50,000 or more, with some having no dollar limit.
As fertility benefits become more inclusive, the result is more diverse workforces and gender-balanced C-suites, which have proven to have a profound effect on companies’ long-term success.
The Benefit of a Managed Family-Building Benefit Program
Today, the most well-designed family-building programs provide a “managed” benefit that includes access to expert care navigators, such as fertility-trained nurses, for guidance. This helps intended parents better understand options and make the most of their benefits.
With managed benefits, intended parents can save on unnecessary costs and obtain the best outcome thanks to the guidance of a nurse care manager. When going through fertility treatment without clinical guidance, parents are more likely to have multiple gestations, which can frequently be accompanied by newborn intensive care unit stays that average a 20-day length and cost between $40,000 and $80,000. A managed benefit reduces these unwanted outcomes because intended parents have professional guidance that’s catered to them specifically.
Managed solutions that include elective egg freezing have become increasingly popular. Covering egg-freezing costs, which typically total $8,000 to $10,000, plus medications and storage, is less costly to a company than losing a strong employee to a competitor.
Especially when done with managed clinical guidance, egg freezing empowers women to commit to their career without the fear they will miss their ideal fertility window, given freezing their eggs at a younger age preserves an increased ability to conceive down the road. Also, cryopreservation (egg freezing for women and sperm freezing for men) may be critical for workers facing certain serious medical issues, so when cryopreservation is covered as part of a managed care benefit, employees will take notice and be appreciative.
A managed fertility benefit can also support preconception. A nurse care manager can guide patients in utilizing wearable ovulation monitors, optimizing their chances of achieving pregnancy while avoiding the need for advanced assisted reproductive technology.
Family-Building Benefits Are Now a Common Offering
Modern families are more diverse than ever before, which has fueled a growing demand for employers to support workers’ concerns beyond their jobs. Now, family-building benefits have earned a place alongside more traditional healthcare benefits and have become a standard practice in many companies across industry sectors. As they fully become part of the base benefits offering, companies will continue developing and refining these programs. This is already leading to increased family support, including parenting, milk shipping, resources for special needs kids, elder care, and more.
It’s only a matter of time until we see increased benefits that view employees as whole people—and look at every element of their lives—rather than just their work and required benefits.