Fertility Benefits Plus Adoption and Surrogacy
More and more companies are offering fertility benefits to their employees. The number of companies providing these benefits has been increasing dramatically. Fertility benefits are becoming a valuable recruitment and retention tool. This trend began in the high-tech industry with companies like Facebook, Google, PayPal, Intel and Salesforce, who were in the top 10 tech companies with the best fertility benefits. Many other companies in competitive industries have jumped on the bandwagon.
Yet conventional fertility benefits may not meet the family-building needs of all employees, especially LGBTQ personnel and women who are unable to carry a baby to term. Inclusive benefits can be the answer.
Why Employees Need Surrogacy Coverage
Conventional fertility benefits cover IVF treatment, including fertility medications, and in some cases also include egg freezing and other means of fertility preservation. But some employees will need a surrogate in order to bear a child. A surrogate is a woman who carries a baby to term for another couple. In most cases she is not genetically related to the child, which is known as gestational surrogacy.
Male same-sex couples require a gestational surrogate to have a child which is biologically related to one of them. Opposite-sex couples may need a surrogate for a number of different reasons, such as absence of a uterus, an impaired uterus, cancer or a chronic health problem that makes it unsafe or impossible for a woman to carry a child, according to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association.
The costs of surrogacy include fertility treatment costs, medical costs during the pregnancy, legal fees, lost wages and any other incurred costs related to the surrogacy. Surrogacy can cost $100,000 or more, with the additional cost of egg donation if that is needed. When this expense is not covered by benefits, having a biological child may be cost-prohibitive for all but the wealthiest.
Adoption as an Option
Employer provided adoption benefits are becoming more common, which can be a huge help to employees considering adoption. The costs of adoption vary greatly, depending on whether an employee is adopting from foster care, from an agency in the U.S., or an overseas adoption through an agency. Here’s a helpful factsheet on the costs involved.
Adoption benefits generally cover three areas: information resources, financial assistance, and parental leave. Financial assistance helps cover legal and agency fees, which can vary from $20,000 to $50,000 or more.
Some couples will choose adoption for family-building for moral or ethical reasons, or because they have exhausted fertility treatment options. Some look at it as a compassionate response to children in need of homes and families.
Recent surveys by Aon Hewitt Associates show that more than 50 percent of employers offer some kind of adoption assistance. Offering adoption and surrogacy benefits in addition to more traditional fertility benefits helps employers provide a welcoming, inclusive environment for all employees.
Coaching and Advocacy
Employees wishing to build their family through non-traditional means often seek comprehensive education and guidance to help them navigate the anxiety, the confusion, and the questions this process presents. Such services often take the form of on-demand videos, live webinars, and one-on-one coaching covering topics such as:
- Adoption and foster care
- Surrogacy, IVF, and egg & sperm donor
- Choosing a path and a provider
- Paying for your journey, including information on finding grants, loans and fundraising