Jeni Mayorskaya is CEO and founder, Stork Club. After being diagnosed with reproductive disorders that carried a risk of infertility she went on to build a company that gives people control over their reproductive lives so they can have both a career and a family.
One in 8 couples experience infertility, according to the CDC. It’s fair to assume that many of the affected individuals are part of the U.S. workforce, perhaps even part of your workforce. But in an era when diversity, equity, and inclusion practices are a prerequisite for companies, many still fall short in making progress as their benefit plans fail to cover this expanded set of employees.
Traditionally, companies addressed the diagnosis of infertility. But focusing on the diagnosis leaves out several populations like LGBTQ+ individuals. This excludes employees who want to preserve their fertility for later family-building and those with genetic issues where conceiving naturally could affect their children’s health.
A genuinely inclusive culture provides benefits that include all family-building options for all people. These flexible family plans cover fertility options like in vitro fertilization, elective egg freezing, donor sperm and egg adoption, surrogacy, foster care, and child adoption.
Employers interested in inclusive fertility benefits or already providing them should audit their programs to ensure they’re designed for inclusive support:
- Are people of all ages and gender identities eligible?
- Can every employee get elective egg, sperm, and embryo cryopreservation, regardless of medical necessity?
- Are all members covered to obtain donor sperm or egg adoption and IVF in the case of a donor issue?
To ensure that doctors decide front-line treatments, not policies, a company will want to answer yes to all three questions.
Family-building doesn’t stop at getting pregnant and is instead a journey. And leaders have a significant role in supporting their employees along this journey. Consequently, managers must receive training on everything fertility can involve, how to appropriately support their employees, and, often, how to shake this once taboo workplace topic so employees don’t have to suffer in silence without support.
Inclusive care from pre-conception through pregnancy and back to work is what today’s employees are asking for. But it can also decrease costly absenteeism and talent attrition and be a differentiator in the competition for diverse talent.