Fertility preservation has become an increasingly popular benefit by allowing people to preemptively take charge of their family building journey, but what does fertility preservation entail? How can it help both employees and employers? Let’s explore.
What is Fertility Preservation?
Fertility preservation is a great resource for anyone who wants to have biological children in the future, but is not ready or able to start a family at the present, by allowing them to freeze eggs, sperm, or embryos for use in conception later on. The quality of eggs and sperm is proven to decrease as a person ages, which can make conception more difficult for those in their late 30’s and 40’s. By freezing eggs or sperm at a younger age, the chances of a successful and healthy pregnancy later in life can increase.
Egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation, involves ovary stimulation to produce multiple eggs. When the eggs are mature, they are extracted and flash-frozen in a process called vitrification, which preserves the eggs so they can be used in IVF in the future. Heterosexual couples may also fertilize the extracted eggs with the male’s sperm in the lab and freeze any resulting embryos for later use in IVF. In order to facilitate the best results in this process, WIN’s managed fertility preservation benefit gives members access to the best care by matching them with a high-quality provider that meets their unique needs. Our experienced Nurse Care Managers also provide guidance and education to ensure that members are fully supported throughout the fertility preservation process, helping them to achieve the best outcomes.
Sperm freezing may be done at a fertility center, sperm bank, or from the comfort of home using a sperm storage kit. Our WIN for HIM program is specifically tailored to men on their family-building journey, giving members access to at-home semen analysis testing kits that include 1 year of sperm storage for convenient sperm testing and freezing.
Why a Fertility Preservation Benefit Matters
There are a multitude of reasons why someone may pursue fertility preservation, ranging from medical issues to other life circumstances, making it a frequently utilized benefit by a wide variety of employees. In the instance of medically necessary fertility preservation, for example, both men and women may lose their ability to conceive a biological child after undergoing cancer treatment, which may involve chemotherapy or certain surgical procedures affecting the reproductive organs that can cause infertility. To avoid potential fertility complications, cancer patients may choose to freeze eggs or sperm before starting treatment in order to preserve their fertility.
Elective fertility preservation, which is not driven by medical causes, enables people assigned female at birth to freeze their eggs, people assigned male at birth to freeze sperm, or couples to freeze embryos so they can have children later via IVF or surrogacy. Elective egg freezing is a very popular benefit for women in competitive industries because it allows them to postpone childbearing as they focus on their career, while giving them the option to preserve higher-quality eggs at a younger age to increase their changes of having a biological child down the road.
Additionally, offering a fertility preservation benefit actively supports diversity and inclusion by allowing transgender employees to prepare for future family building before transitioning, which can impact their ability to have a biological child. Specifically, transgender people may lose their reproductive capabilities due to hormone therapy or gender affirming surgery. In order to increase their chances of having a biological child in the future, a transgender person may choose to freeze eggs or sperm prior to transitioning. With WIN’s diverse set of providers and Nurse Care Managers, LGBTQ+ members have access to an experienced team with the skillset and knowledge to best support their specific family-building needs.
Offering an inclusive fertility preservation benefit shows employees that employers understand their life circumstances and their desire to have a family, which is especially appealing to Millennial and Gen Z employees. Millennials have been delaying childbearing due to financial pressures, societal norms, and a desire to build their careers before starting a family. Gen Z employees are expected to follow the same trends, making the demand for fertility preservation benefits consistent for years to come.
Providing a fertility preservation benefit is a powerful tool for recruitment and retention because it demonstrates that an employer has their employees’ best interests in mind while giving employees the opportunity to take charge of their family building future. Click here to learn more about how fertility preservation benefits are a win for employees and employers alike.