Benefits and Compensation, Q&A

Expanding Your Family Building Benefits Beyond Fertility in 2023

It’s International Women’s Day, so here at HR Daily Advisor we’re highlighting an important topic that isn’t discussed enough: fertility and family building benefits. While these types of benefits have gained much-needed attention over the past few years, organizations can do more to help their employees throughout every stage of their family building journey.

In support of International Women’s Day, WIN – a leading family-building benefits provider – conducted a survey to get a deeper look at impacting factors behind the uniquely personal decisions related to motherhood, particularly the choice to wait until after the age of 35. 

The survey revealed that 30% of women surveyed (age 35-plus) would not consider fertility treatments, such as egg preservation, in vitro fertilization (IVF), adoption, or surrogacy because of the high cost. However, majority (81%) feel it’s important that an employer provides fertility benefits and support. 

We recently connected with WIN’s CEO, Roger Shedlin, to discuss how employers are making family-building more affordable, what benefits are being sought after, and more. 

Here’s what he had to say.

Can you discuss a few key findings of WIN’s recent study?

RS: Unsurprisingly, lifestyle and finances were major considerations that impacted women’s decisions. By waiting to enter motherhood after 35, 93% of women indicated they accomplished goals related to lifestyle or finances. Top reasons for postponing motherhood until 35-plus included relationship status (53%), lifestyle (45%), finances (44%), and career goals (36%). Women who waited pointed to accomplishing milestones such as improving finances, becoming homeowners, furthering education and career, and traveling because of their choice.

Women also often feel personally concerned about their ability to conceive and the challenges associated with having children later in life. In fact, 74% of women were concerned about their ability to have children after 35-plus from a fertility standpoint, and 42% of women said they had a more challenging time getting pregnant because of waiting. Support is critical to the family building journey; 82% of women said they were open to sharing their decision to wait to have children until age 35-plus years old.

Finally, while fertility education, testing and treatments are critical to allowing women to feel reassured in their decision to delay motherhood, cost is a major barrier. Thirty percent of women would not consider fertility treatments due to financial cost, therefore 81% of women feel it is important that an employer provides fertility benefits and support.

How are employers making family-building more affordable?

RS: Employers from a broad range of industries and geographies have seen that offering an inclusive family building benefit helps to recruit and retain a talented and diverse workforce and improve productivity. To achieve the highest ROI on their family building benefit dollars, employers are providing managed solutions that include nurse-supported reproductive clinical advocacy, tech-enabled patient support, and broad specialty networks encompassing the highest credentialed double-board certified reproductive endocrinologists instead of merely offering a fertility benefit. These managed family building solutions are designed to deliver superior clinical outcomes, such as higher pregnancy rates with the fewest complications.

What specific benefits are being sought after?

Over the last few years, with the tight labor market and increased focus on DEI, we have seen family building benefit packages become larger, broader, and more inclusive. Lifetime maximum benefit limits of $50,000-plus have become more common, with some employers providing unlimited benefits. More recently, employers have transitioned from offering infertility coverage to a broader family building benefit encompassing surrogacy, adoption, and fertility preservation (e.g., egg freezing). Companies are also making benefits more inclusive by waiving the clinical definition of infertility, allowing same sex couples and single by choice intended parents to access these benefits.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

WIN’s survey results reinforce demographic, economic, societal, and clinical trends of intended parents increasingly turning to assisted reproductive technologies and other family building support solutions to help people start and grow families. Increased employer coverage of these services shows that organizations recognize the appeal and increasing utilization of family building solutions and are structuring their benefits to meet this growing need.

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