Why Companies Should Invest in Families

It’s Good for Employees and for Your Business

More and more companies are offering family building benefits to their employees.  More than 400 companies include coverage for fertility treatment, according to a survey by Fertility IQ in 2019.  From Starbucks to Bank of America and Tesla, offering coverage has expanded from the high-tech sector to banking, consulting, law firms, and other industries.

Why are these employers offering fertility benefits and other family building benefits?  Because coverage for fertility treatment is an in-demand tool for recruitment and retention of highly-skilled employees.

Who is Affected?

More than seven million women in the U.S. have used some form of fertility treatment, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  That statistic doesn’t capture that men are affected by infertility, too.  As many as 40 percent of infertility cases involve male factor infertility or a combination of both male and female fertility problems.  So, it’s not just women in the workplace who need coverage, and most still do not have it.  Most states do not mandate insurance coverage for fertility treatment, and the cost of treatment is prohibitively expensive for many people.

The average age of having a first child for women in the U.S. has increased from 21 in 1972 to 26 in 2018. The need for fertility treatment is exacerbated by couples who are older when they attempt to start a family.  Many couples postpone starting a family so they can pursue higher education, advance their careers, or pay off school debt, on the assumption that they can easily have a child in their 30s.  Many people don’t realize that a woman’s fertility begins to decline in her early 30s and declines sharply around age 38, as her eggs age and have more defective chromosomes.  Men’s fertility does not decline as quickly, but research has shown that as the male partner ages the risk of miscarriage increases.

An Important Recruitment Tool

High-tech companies were the innovators in offering coverage for fertility treatment and egg freezing as a recruitment tool for in-demand employees.  With unemployment at record low levels, competition for highly-skilled workers can be fierce.  Employers increasingly find that inclusive family-building benefits provide a competitive edge in recruiting.  Recruiting and supporting a diverse workforce often motivates companies to not only cover fertility treatment but also to provide coverage for adoption and LBGTQ family building.  Offering these benefits also helps to position a company as one that cares about its employees and their lives outside the office, and is supportive of families.

A Powerful Retention Tool

Employee retention is essential to providing good customer service and holding down costs in an organization.  Some studies predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 33 percent of the employee’s salary for recruiting and training expenses.  This doesn’t include the lost knowledge and experience which departing employees take with them.  Some studies have found that millennials are more likely to change jobs than older workers.  An increasingly large part of the workforce, the oldest millennials are entering their mid-30s.  At the very time when they may want to start a family, they may face difficulty doing so.  Offering family building benefits supports them at this time of their lives and may help increase employee loyalty.  Providing coverage alleviates the financial burden of fertility treatment or adoption and makes it acceptable to build a family with assisted reproductive technology when it’s needed.