How Much Time Do You Have?
Did you know that the general fertility rate in the United States is the lowest it’s ever been? A major reason for that is millennials in their peak fertility years are delaying childbirth or even deciding not to have children. Many of them are loaded with student debt and feel they can’t afford children yet, while others are pursuing higher education or their careers. Most millennials are waiting later to marry for all these reasons and many others. They are realistic about the lack of support provided to families where both parents work, and young women are less willing to put their careers on a slower track than in the past.
Those who want to have children often assume they’ll be able to get pregnant and have a healthy baby in their late 30s or early 40s, after their careers are more established. But they may not realize fertility is not a given after age 35, and that having a baby naturally after age 40 is nearly impossible. Here’s what working millennials who want to have a family need to know.
Fertility Declines Faster After Age 35
A woman’s fertility is driven by the age of her eggs. As eggs get older, they are more likely to have chromosomal abnormalities which cause miscarriages. Fertility peaks in the early 20s and declines gradually but significantly until about age 32. Then it declines more rapidly, and the decline accelerates even more after age 37. It’s still possible to have a baby naturally between 35 and 40 years old, but for many people it becomes more difficult. As many as one third of women in this age range will have trouble conceiving, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The chances of getting pregnant naturally after age 40 are about one to two percent, and they drop to zero around age 44.
Egg Freezing as an Option
Freezing her eggs, or oocyte cryopreservation, allows a woman to keep eggs from her peak fertility years when the eggs are less likely to have chromosomal abnormalities and use them later in IVF cycles. Several high tech companies are offering egg freezing as a fertility benefit to their employees. Intel, PayPal, Microsoft, Facebook, Salesforce, Google, and LinkedIn are among the top ten tech companies in fertility benefits, and most of those companies cover the cost of egg freezing. They view it as a valuable perk to help recruit more young women and allow them to concentrate on their careers while keeping the option to have a family down the road.
IVF and Other Fertility Benefits
Offering fertility benefits to employees is becoming a strong recruitment and retention tool for top companies. As millennials wait longer to start their families, the need for fertility treatment will only increase. In vitro fertilization has become more effective and more affordable than in past decades. Yet the expense of fertility treatment can be a major burden to a couple if it isn’t covered by benefits.
WINFertility helps employers provide their employees access to better fertility care at a fraction of the cost. WIN saves employers money by providing managed coverage by experts, promoting treatment options that yield better clinical outcomes and lower the rate of high-order multiples and NICU utilization. WIN also provides discounted treatment packages and financing options to patients who aren’t covered by their employer managed coverage through the reproductive endocrinologists in their Network.
Making IVF Affordable
Open Enrollment is soon approaching, and now is a great time to consider adding fertility benefits to your employee benefits offering. Read our post discussing why a managed benefit matters for both companies and employees.