- Although infertility affects 1 in 6 people globally, according to recent data from the World Health Organization, treatment remains out of reach for many. A Carrot Fertility survey of 5,000 global respondents — all employed and either planning or building a family — conducted in March found that just one-third could afford fertility treatments if needed. Twenty-nine percent said they may need to incur debt to pay for such treatments, and 39% said they’d need to dip into their savings. Nearly half of U.S. respondents said they’d consider taking a second job to afford fertility treatments.
- The study also showed employees are looking more to employers for coverage. Sixty-five percent of workers said they’d change jobs to work for a company that provided fertility benefits, and 72% said they’d stay at their company longer if they had access to such benefits. Three out of four respondents said fertility benefits are an important part of an inclusive company culture.
- “These results demonstrate just how essential comprehensive fertility healthcare and family-forming support is for employees worldwide and showcase the opportunity employers have to make impactful investments in this critical part of healthcare,” Tammy Sun, founder and CEO of Carrot, said in a statement about the study.
Among a wide slate of offerings, fertility benefits have seen some of the greatest growth in employer uptake over the past several years. These offerings are expected to grow even more; according to a survey on fertility and family benefits from Maven, 63% of HR respondents said they expected to increase family health benefits within the next few years.
In addition to increasing awareness of need, both workers and employers are becoming increasingly aware of cost — and how prohibitively expensive fertility treatments can often be without the support of insurance or supplemental benefits.
According to an analysis in The New York Times, in vitro fertilization can cost anywhere from $12,000 to $17,000 for a single cycle — and closer to $25,000 with medication. Given that most people will require more than one round of treatment, and potentially up to six rounds, IVF costs can add up quickly. Intrauterine insemination, which can likewise require multiple treatments, can cost between $300 and $1,000 without insurance, according to a Planned Parenthood estimate.
Health insurance may cover some aspects of fertility care, but is rarely sufficient, a 2020 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found. Only California and Texas require private insurers to cover fertility benefits, and testing is more likely to be covered than IVF, KFF found.
Several fertility benefits companies — such as Carrot Fertility, Ovia Health, Progyny and WINFertility — have emerged as employers work to bridge the gap between what their health insurance plans offer and what employees seek. Some companies also provide their own stipend policy. Spotify, Salesforce and Google are among the companies that provide IVF coverage.