- Maternity care platform Stork Club announced June 25 a partnership with Virginia-based Fairfax Cryobank and Fairfax Eggbank on an employee benefit offering donor sperm and egg coverage to employees who are members of the LGBTQ+ community, single parents and those who have genetic health issues.
- The donor tissue benefit is one component of Stork Club's LGBTQ+ maternity care program, which also covers care elements like in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, child adoption and pregnancy support, the company said in a statement.
- Fertility benefits are not carried by the majority of U.S. employers: only 19% offered an IVF benefit in 2019, according to an annual survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and 18% offered infertility treatment coverage other than IVF. However, 63% of family-planning LGBTQ individuals said they expected to use either foster care, adoption or assisted reproductive technology, according to a 2019 survey conducted by the nonprofit Family Equality Council.
While fertility benefits may not be available to most U.S. workers, sources seem to indicate that larger employers are increasingly likely to offer them. A 2019 survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that nearly one-third of employers with 500 or more workers offered a type of fertility benefit, an increase from 24% in 2016.
The benefits may be a draw for talent, although some gaps in perceived usefulness among women remain, according to a survey last year by women's career community Fairygodboss and Extend Fertility. For instance, women in the survey ages 35-44 were 60% more likely than younger women (ages 25-34) to view a company that offers egg freezing benefits positively, per the analysis of the survey's results.
Fairygodboss and Extend Fertility noted in their analysis that the perceived value of egg freezing and IVF benefits "may significantly depend on a woman's own family-building status," adding that the "gap in the perceived value of fertility benefits seems to indicate that these benefits are still seen as useful to only a marginal few — even though about 10% of women of childbearing age in the U.S. have difficulty getting or staying pregnant."
SHRM noted in the analysis of its 2019 survey that recent declines in specific service offerings like IVF, among others, could be due to financial and legal reasons: "With significant legal restrictions on health insurance plans, and limited dollars to spend on employee healthcare, more employers may be choosing to opt out of offering specific and 'nonessential' health services."
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted fertility treatment centers, sources told HR Dive in June, affecting usage but not necessarily the number of employers offering the benefits. In fact, an increase in virtual care may allow employees to continue care with providers, one source said. Family-friendly benefits might also be a point of discussion for employers after the pandemic subsides as researchers focus on how COVID-19 affects caregivers.