Written by Erin Hennessey, VP of Business Development at Progyny
Raising the topic of a fertility and family building benefit within your organization can be intimidating. Who do you go to? How do you approach the conversation? Is this something that your company will care about? If you have started a conversation, how do you keep the momentum to bring fertility benefits to your organization?
It doesn’t matter if you start by googling those acronyms you have heard from friends (hello IVF, TTC, IUI) or if are in your fourth round of IVF and can give yourself a PIO shot (Google that) in an airplane bathroom (been there done that!) – when you commit to “be the change” in your own organization you have already put on that superhero cape. No matter how big or small your organization may be, your voice has the power to make a difference for so many individuals and their families. By starting the conversation and bringing awareness to this disease, you are already helping the men and women who face fertility challenges today, but also the many who may tomorrow.
What do you need to know? A few fast facts on infertility:
- Infertility is common. 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting or staying pregnant, and 1/4 of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. This is a problem at your workplace, regardless of whether or not employees are talking about it
- 58% of individuals would forgo fertility treatments due to cost
- 65% of employers have offered fertility coverage because employees asked for it
- 63% of LGBTQ people planning families expect to use assisted reproductive technology, foster care, or adoption to become parents
Infertility is a club no one wants to be in – but it’s important to know that as you step up to lead change within your organization you are not alone. We created a Fertility Coverage Worksheet to give you the tools you need to make the case in your organization. Use the customizable templates to arm yourself with the facts and make the case for the fertility and family building benefits everyone deserves.
Fertility Coverage Worksheet for companies with a current benefit
Fertility Coverage Worksheet for companies with no benefit
Set yourself up for success to make the case with these key considerations. YOU CAN DO THIS (and we are here to help)!
Get the facts
If you have personal experience with infertility, you know how important it is to have fertility benefits coverage. Too often, companies either don’t offer coverage at all or have a current benefit that just doesn’t meet the needs of employees. But a comprehensive fertility benefit is not only good for employees, it’s good for business.
To help outline that for your employer, first use the Fertility Coverage Worksheet Template to analyze your current benefit:
- Who has access to the benefit and what are the requirements to use the benefit?
- Does the benefit design have a dollar lifetime maximum?
- Is fertility medication (a key, albeit costly, piece of fertility treatment) included within the coverage?
- Can treatment be customized for each patient? Does it provide access to technologies like genetic testing?
- How do patients access top fertility clinics?
- How does this impact others in my organization?
Once you start fact-finding, it won’t take long to realize how prevalent this is within your own organization. Infertility is more common than diabetes or depression and sadly, many plans dictate that once someone is diagnosed, they STOP coverage and families are left to navigate on their own.
This coverage gap is one of the reasons people feel like navigating infertility and treatment is like taking on another full-time job.
Find an internal sponsor
After you’ve gathered all this information, you will want to bring it to the people who can actually change your benefits plan. It’s important to ensure you know your organization’s current priorities and to be able to connect a comprehensive fertility program with the business.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Which Human Resource department owns benefit design?
- How do they make their benefit decisions?
- Do they have an established mechanism for soliciting employee feedback?
It’s likely you will need an internal sponsor to help you get there. I have been in a position where I needed an internal sponsor to help me champion organizational change, and have also served as one in my career. A sponsor is someone in your organization or business typically at a similar level as the benefits team leadership. This individual can help open doors that might not be open to you alone.
This person can be a former manager, mentor, or leader of an employee resource group (like a women in leadership group, or a diversity and inclusion team). You may even be in this position yourself right now. It’s time to ask this person for support!
Build your tribe
Any ONE person can help shine a light on this disease; but it takes a village to build the momentum you need to implement a comprehensive fertility benefit. As you engage internal champions, you will also likely need to work collaboratively with functional experts across Human Resources, Operations, IT, Sales, and Marketing. Leverage their expertise in business along with personal experience to transform pain into purpose. Although we haven’t met in person, I am also 1 in 8 so consider me part of your tribe.
Turn UP the volume – the time is NOW!
There is no better time than now to commit to be the change you want to see at your organization. In our current environment, we are acutely aware of how important family is, and everyone should have the support they need to reach those dreams. This is your chance to bring that change to your organization.
We want to make sure you have the resources to do that – learn the key aspects of starting the conversation here, download the Fertility Coverage Worksheet, and return to Progyny.com/advocate for additional education, information, and support.
Have you advocated for a fertility benefit within your organization? Want to learn more? Let’s connect – we really are all in this together. Cheers to change!