How to ask your employer for fertility benefits

Exciting news: we've partnered with Carrot Fertility! We're working together to bridge gaps in fertility access by bringing third-party fertility coverage to more hopeful parents. If fertility benefits feel out of reach, Carrot Fertility is here to help. To kick things off, they're sharing their expert advice to help YOU advocate for fertility coverage. Read on!

If you’ve had to take out a loan or ask family for support funding your egg donor search or gestational carrier (commonly known as surrogacy) journey, you’re not alone. Donor-assisted reproduction is expensive and rarely covered by insurance. To help close the gap, some employers offer fertility and family-forming benefits. These benefits provide financial and logistical support for fertility care and other family-building services. Want to get your employer on board? Asking for fertility benefits can be daunting but with a bit of preparation about how they work — and how they can benefit your company — you can make a strong case for yourself and your colleagues.

Step 1: Know that your HR team wants to hear from you
If you’re feeling nervous, it’s helpful to remember that many benefits programs get off the ground because of employee demand. Especially in a competitive job market, HR teams want to create employee benefits packages that meet the needs of their existing employees and make the company more attractive to job seekers. In other words, assuming your HR team is committed to creating the best benefits package they can, they want to hear from you.

Step 2: Gather your evidence
Data is important to HR teams. They might ask questions like, how many people would use a potential new benefit? How much will it cost? How does it impact their bottom line? While you don’t need to go into your meeting with a PowerPoint deck and spreadsheet prepared, having a few numbers in your back pocket can help support your request. Here are some powerful stats to consider sharing:

  • Infertility is common. One in eight couples are affected by infertility in the United States.

  • Medical infertility isn’t the only reason people seek out fertility and family-forming care and services. 63% of LGBTQ+ couples and individuals plan to use donor-assisted reproduction such as donor-assisted reproduction and gestational carrier (GC) services to grow their families.

  • Offering fertility benefits can help improve employee recruitment and retention. 88% of respondents in Carrot’s Fertility at Work survey would change jobs for fertility benefits — and 77% would stay at a company longer if they had access to fertility benefits.

  • Just 24% of companies offer fertility benefits and even fewer include coverage beyond in vitro fertilization (IVF). Offering an inclusive fertility benefit that covers donor-assisted reproduction and adoption can help your employer stand out even more.

  • Many employees don’t feel comfortable discussing fertility and family forming at work. If you’re the only person approaching HR about this topic, that doesn’t mean you’re the only one going through it. Nearly a third of respondents wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for fertility benefits at work.

Besides data, personal stories are powerful, too, but it’s understandable if you don’t feel comfortable getting into the details of your own. Instead, you can share examples of parenthood journeys a fertility benefit can support. For example, Carrot Fertility shared a series of personal stories for National Infertility Awareness Week that highlight some of the ways fertility benefits impact employees.

Step 3: Get specific about the support you want — but let your HR team know there are flexible options
Though fertility benefits are growing in popularity, your HR team may not necessarily be familiar with them. They may also associate fertility benefits with egg freezing or IVF support, leaving out services like sperm freezing, donor-assisted reproduction, and GC services. When discussing fertility benefits with your company, share that to be truly inclusive of all paths to parenthood, their fertility benefit should include support for IVF, IUI, donor-assisted reproduction, GC services, and adoption.

Your HR team may also be under the impression that fertility benefits are too expensive, especially if your company is on the smaller side. While some large companies do make a significant investment in fertility benefits, solutions like Carrot Fertility also offer flexible options that can expand as a company grows.

Step 4: Consider finding allies.
There’s power in numbers, so if you can, consider enlisting other employees when you make your request. If your company has employee resource groups (ERGs), they can be a great liaison between employees and HR teams. ERGs are employee-led groups of individuals with a shared identity or experience. Some common ERGs include:

  • Culture, race, and ethnicity
  • People with disabilities
  • Women
  • Religion or faith
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Parenting

If your company doesn’t have ERGs, another option is to join forces with a co-worker who agrees that fertility and family-forming benefits are important — even if they’re personally not going through a family-forming journey. Surveys show that when companies offer fertility benefits, just knowing they’re available boosts morale even for those who aren’t planning to grow their families.

Finding an egg donor or GC takes time, money, and patience. Employers can help by providing fertility benefits that are inclusive of all paths to parenthood. It can be intimidating to start the conversation, but advocating for fertility benefits at your company could mean that both you and your colleagues can access the family-forming care and services you need.

About Carrot Fertility: Carrot Fertilityis the leading global fertility benefits provider for employers and health plans, built to support people through their entire family-forming fertility journey. If your employer offers Carrot Fertility, you have access to discounts with Donor Concierge/Tulip. Want to request Carrot at your company? Fill out our request form and we’ll be happy to reach out to your HR team on your behalf.