Hard to Believe, but Healthcare Pros Struggle with Infertility More Than You Think

baby walking with doctor parent

When people need help addressing fertility issues to grow their families, they turn to doctors, nurses, specialists, therapists, and healthcare professionals of all kinds.  

One out of every six people struggle with some kind of infertility, according to the World Health Organization. And turns out that those healthcare pros who are busy helping everyone else build families are suffering from infertility at twice the rate. 

Is there a doctor(’s baby) in the house?

Data shows that healthcare professionals experience infertility at even higher rates than the general population, with one out of every four requiring infertility assistance. While there are many reasons for this, one of the key drivers for this startling statistic is that many doctors put their education and desire to help others ahead of family planning for themselves. 

It takes around 11 years to become a doctor in the United States, after four years obtaining an undergraduate degree, four years of medical school, and three years of residency (and the longest track can take up to 15 years). That means that—unless a doctor-in-training wants to disrupt their education and delay starting their career—many are roughly at least 30 years old by the time they can even begin to think about starting a family. And after all that training, you can imagine many just want to spend a few years being a doctor without having to worry about their biological clock. 

Yet, there is little to no support existing currently to help providers who are facing infertility. In fact, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, “with more than 340,000 practicing female physicians within the United States, female physician infertility is especially relevant. However, despite the increasing number of female physicians seeking assisted reproductive technology, there is a lack of access to adequate insurance coverage for this higher-risk patient subset.” 

With 85% of large organizations planning to expand their support of fertility and reproductive health by 2024, why is it that our healthcare heroes seem to be left out of the conversation?  

Helping the Healers

This doesn’t have to be the case. While many have cited cost and risk as barriers to investing in fertility support in the past, there’s evidence now that proves otherwise.  

Not only do employees experience a 27% higher live birth rate when provided a comprehensive, value-based approach to fertility support, but 97% of employers who offer fertility treatment report no significant increase in medical costs after providing coverage.  

With hospitals, healthcare systems, and clinics across the country launching historic levels of recruitment and retention efforts to engage burned out healthcare professionals post COVID-19, this is a key opportunity for benefit leaders to consider fertility benefits as a means of both taking better care of their caretakers and to offer competitive, best-in-class benefits.  

Major healthcare organizations are already taking the lead in adding fertility and family building benefits to draw in talent. HCA Healthcare, the largest publicly traded hospital system in the U.S., increased its hiring by 19% in the first quarter of 2023 after adding Progyny, and is continuing that trend by offering the same fertility coverage to its new recruits.

It’s clear when healthcare organizations show support for their employees’ whole-being, including their future family dreams, it’s a win-win for everyone. Employers meet staffing and competitive goals, while healthcare professionals have an opportunity to realize their dreams of having families of their own.  

Through relationships with organizations like Children’s Hospital Association, Progyny is committed to growing awareness and helping the healthcare industry provide member hospitals the choice to participate in Progyny’s services and utilize the same transformative care and support they give others.  

To find out how you can join organizations like HCA Healthcare and in bringing competitive family building support to your benefit plan, schedule some time with our team here.  

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