Inclusivity for Employees Means Equality

Why This Matters

Inclusivity for all employees is more important now than ever before.  Many companies increasingly recognize that providing benefits that are important to a diverse range of employees is essential to recruiting and retaining them.  Inclusive family-building benefits cater to the unique needs of different individuals.

Infertility doesn’t discriminate, and neither should your company’s benefits. Let’s look at some of the factors that make it essential to offer inclusive family-building benefits to address the needs of all employees.

Infertility Doesn’t Only Affect White People

The image of someone with infertility, in most people’s minds, may be an affluent white couple.  Yet the fact is that black women are more likely to suffer from infertility than white women.  According to the National Survey of Family Growth between 2006-2010, non-Hispanic black married women were 1.8 times more likely to suffer from infertility than Hispanic or non-Hispanic white women.  Black women have a three-times-higher chance of having uterine fibroids than white women, which can impair fertility.  Yet according to a University of Michigan study, black women often suffer their infertility in silence and isolation, feeling shame and staying silent because discussing it in their community did not elicit sympathy or support.  Stereotypical beliefs about womanhood and motherhood made them feel inferior to women who were able to have children.

It’s Not Just a Woman’s Disease

As much as one third of infertility cases are due to male factor infertility, while another one third are due to female factor infertility, and the rest to a combination of both, or to no known cause (unexplained infertility).  Infertility treatment needs to include testing and treatment of the male partner as well as the female.  Techniques such as ICSI and genetic testing can improve the chance of fertilizing an egg and choosing healthy embryos for transfer in IVF.

Age and Infertility

The age of a woman’s eggs negatively affects her fertility more than any other factor.  Offering egg freezing so younger women can preserve their fertility is increasingly popular as a kind of safety net for a future family.

Religion Can Affect Family-Building Choices

Some religions do not allow IVF or surrogacy.  Providing an adoption benefit can help people who can’t use assisted reproductive technology for religious reasons, as well as those who don’t want to or whose infertility treatment has failed, to build a family in another loving and compassionate way.

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The traditional definition of infertility is inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sex (or 6 months depending on age) between a male and a female.  This definition excludes at least 4.5% of the American population who identify as LGBTQ, as estimated by a Gallup poll in 2017. As LGBTQ people have established the right to marry, many of them want to have a family as well.  They may need fertility treatment including sperm donation, egg donation, IVF, and surrogacy, or adoption benefits.  Providing inclusive family-building benefits puts the love and support of a family within reach of all your employees.

Some Single People Want to be Parents

There is an increasing number of women who are single moms by choice.  Whether they are tired of waiting for the right partner, afraid they will lose the chance to have a biological child as they get older, or simply ready to start a family on their own, these single moms by choice need fertility treatments to make their dream come true. Options include sperm donation with IUI or IVF, or support for adoption or fostering. The number of single dads by choice is smaller but is also increasing.  Inclusive family-building benefits cover their need for fertility treatments like surrogacy, egg donation and IVF, or for adoption or fostering.

Managed Benefits and the Stigma of Infertility

Providing managed family-building benefits improves your employees’ chances of success at having a child or adopting a child and helps mitigate financial and emotional strain.  If the benefits are available to all, the stigma of infertility is lessened.  Managed benefits also help your company control costs while giving employees optimal outcomes.