Nice-to-Have or Essential?
In recent years, more and more companies have begun offering family-building benefits to their employees. The trend started in high tech, and expanded to banking, consulting, law firms, and other companies in competitive fields.
Providing fertility treatment coverage and egg freezing were thought to provide a competitive edge for recruiting and retaining talented female employees, as well as male employees. But how do women really feel about family-building benefits?
No Regrets About Egg Freezing
Several Fortune 100 companies including Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet (the parent of Google), Netflix, Uber and Citigroup provide coverage for egg freezing, also known as oocyte cryopreservation. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. As they grow older, egg quality and quantity declines, making it harder to get pregnant and carry a child to term. By freezing their eggs, women hope to postpone childbearing until they are older but still be able to have a biological child.
Egg freezing involves financial, emotional, and physical stresses, and will involve future stresses when the eggs are used in IVF. How do women feel about egg freezing? Do they think it’s worthwhile? A recent study in Fertility and Sterility was based on a survey of 201 women who had frozen their eggs. The study’s authors found that 51 percent of the women surveyed had no regrets about their decision to freeze their eggs, while 33 percent had mild regret. Nearly 90 percent were happy they had frozen their eggs, even if they might never use them to get pregnant. Women appear to regard egg freezing as insurance that they can have a family in the future.
Coverage for Fertility Treatment is a Powerful Incentive
In 2019 Glamour and Modern Fertility, a women’s health company offering home testing for a fertility hormone, teamed up to survey hundreds of women on their knowledge of fertility problems and fertility treatments, and their attitudes toward family-building benefits. Their Modern State of Fertility survey uncovered strong preferences for insurance coverage for fertility treatment. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed said it is important to them that insurance covers the cost of fertility treatment. Nearly 60 percent would choose an employer that provides benefits for fertility treatment such as IVF over an employer that does not provide those benefits.
Inclusive Family-Building Benefits
A strong family-building benefits package includes adoption and LGBTQ-friendly options such as surrogacy and IVF without requiring unprotected intercourse for six months, which is impossible for lesbian couples. Family-building benefits help attract talent, encourage employee loyalty, showcase the employer’s values, and, if managed, can reduce health care costs.