Fertility benefit costs: What every employer needs to know

Women’s health benefits are one of the fastest growing sectors in healthcare. In the post-pandemic workplace, more and more employees are demanding benefits that support women and families—and they’re even willing to change jobs to get them. This means employers need to offer the most sought-after benefits, including fertility coverage, to compete for the best talent and maintain a diverse workforce. 

But there are a few key things employers need to know when deciding how to approach fertility coverage. First, not offering fertility benefits can cost you. Second, there can be hidden costs to offering fertility benefits without a holistic women’s health program to back them up for you and your employees.

The financial stress of fertility may be taking a toll on your employees — and your retention goals

Fertility treatments are notoriously expensive. And it’s not a niche problem. According to the World Health Organization, infertility impacts one in six people at some point in their lives. But fertility and family-building struggles can feel like taboo subjects— which means that there’s a good chance some of your employees are dealing with these issues, and you may not even know.. 

While it’s hard to calculate the emotional stress of fertility challenges, we can put some numbers to the tremendous financial burdens people face: 

When family-building is a priority, people can face nearly impossible decisions: How will they afford the costs? How much debt can they manage? These kinds of financial stressors can lead to emotional exhaustion and negative physical health effects, which can take a toll on a person’s work life

the financial pressures of fertility issues may be even tougher in the current economy. Inflation is up 17 percent since 2020 and according to PwC’s 2023 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 57 percent of employees say that finances are the top cause of stress in their lives

As financial distress ratchets up, valued employees may decide to search for higher salaries. In fact, PwC’s research also found that financially stressed employees are twice as likely to be looking for a new job. And 73 percent of financially stressed employees said they would be drawn to an employer who cares more about their financial well-being. 

For all of these reasons, fertility benefits, like Ovia’s fertility solution, are a smart investment for employers — they can improve the emotional and financial well-being of employees, boost retention and recruitment, and reduce the costs associated with hiring and training replacement employees. 

Here’s why fertility benefits need to go hand-in-hand with holistic women’s health support

While a fertility benefit can help employees avoid the tremendous financial stress of family-building — and help demonstrate a company’s commitment to a family-friendly work culture — offering fertility benefits alone can come at a high cost. If you offer fertility benefits, such as IVF coverage, people will use them. (A study found, for example, that in states with mandated assisted reproductive technology (ART) coverage, use is 1.5 times higher than the national rate.) But the costs of fertility treatments don’t end when treatment is complete.

ART can increase rates of preterm births 4X and multiple births by more than 30 percent, which can both lead to expensive health complications. Consider: singleton births cost about $21,000 per delivery, twins can cost up to $105,000, and triplet births may cost 20 times as much as a singleton — up to $400,000 or more. A preterm birth can cost up to $95,000 per instance.

Employers can manage the costs of fertility by offering more holistic support. First, a fertility benefit can include education and coaching to help as many members as possible to conceive naturally, reducing the use of ART and lowering the rates of multiple births. Ovia’s fertility solution has been shown to reduce ART use by up to 65 percent and multiple gestations by up to 47 percent.* 

A strong maternity care program — with a focus on prevention — can also lower costs. In the U.S., we’re already battling a broken system. Our maternal mortality rates are higher than any other high-income nation, shockingly, the vast majority of those deaths are preventable. Given the higher health risks for ART-related pregnancies, personalized preventive care is critical.

Prevention is at the heart of Ovia’s model. Using data and our experience helping millions of people through their parenting journey, we’ve built clinical pathways that take the individual health risks of each member into account. Our solution includes personalized education based on a member’s specific profile, one-to-one coaching, and reminders about critical tests and screenings. With this approach, we help members have healthier, safer pregnancies — and we’ve reduced preterm birth rates for our clients by as much as 54 percent in some cases.* 

For the times when conceiving naturally isn’t possible, or applicable, Ovia has launched a new Fertility and Family Building Benefit. The new benefit allows employers and health plans to design plan benefits and assistance packages based on their specific goals and budgets. The solution extends Ovia’s clinically driven approach to support family journeys – including assisted reproductive technologies (ART), adoption and surrogacy – and will be available to members of all demographics and family types, including those of same-sex couples and individuals.

The Fertility and Family Building Benefit includes:

  • The Ovia Wallet™: A new financial tool allowing employers to contribute funds designated for eligible services across fertility services, adoption and surrogacy. Ovia has partnered with First Dollar, a financial technology platform, to offer several payment choices, including a digital wallet, physical debit card, and reimbursement options for qualified expenses including in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg freezing, adoption, surrogacy and more.
  • Care Navigation: Support for members to identify and navigate fertility clinics, providers, and surrogacy and adoption agencies
  • Concierge Support and Services: Real-time, one-on-one support and clinical guidance from Ovia’s in-house care team

For truly family-friendly benefits, begin with family-building — and keep going 

Fertility benefits can be a game changer for employee well-being and retention, and maternity care is critical for the best ROI on a fertility program. 

The next step, for companies that want to provide comprehensive family-friendly benefits, is a holistic approach to women’s and family health that spans the major life milestones, including: 

  • Fertility and alternative paths to parenthood
  • Maternity care management
  • Postpartum health
  • Child health
  • Advanced women’s health, including menopause support

If you’re ready to put all of these pieces together, Ovia can help. Our digital solution is built on more than a decade of data and experience helping people through family-building, pregnancy, children’s health, and beyond. We’re focused on prevention and personalization, and our certified health coaches bring a deep understanding of women’s and family health and well-being to every member. 

Want to learn more? Ovia is here for you.

Ovia Health, a Labcorp subsidiary, has served more than 18 million family and parenthood journeys since 2012 and is on a mission to make a happy, healthy family possible for everyone. Ovia Health is the only family health solution clinically proven to effectively identify and intervene with high-risk conditions. The company’s 50+ clinical programs, including predictive coaching and personalized care plans, help prevent unnecessary health care costs, improve health outcomes, and foster a family-friendly workplace that increases retention and return to work. For more information, visit OviaHealth.com.

*Note that these outcome(s) reflect(s) the greatest improvement experienced by a single client for this/these clinical condition area(s). Other clients experienced different outcomes in this/these clinical area(s). Actual results may vary based on initial prevalence rate and engagement rates.