Prospective mothers switch jobs for reproductive health benefits

Posted at 2:26 PM, Jan 09, 2023

A new year sometimes means a new job. What you may be looking for is a career where you can put family first.

More and more companies since 2015 have been offering fertility benefits. It's a trend that is particularly helpful for couples hoping to have a baby.

Carolyn Hrenko and Kelly Wille specifically changed jobs so they could have reproductive health benefits. Both mothers have struggled with fertility in the past.

"People will go to great lengths to build the family that they want," Hrenko said. "People are going to be motivated to work for employers that offer these benefits, so they don't have to pay out of pocket."

After multiple rounds of in-vitro fertilization, Hrenko and her husband had twins. They're planning for another IVF procedure soon with the hope for more children. Considering the cost of IVF, Hrenko said she was determined to find a job with reproductive benefits.

"I work in the biotech industry, and so, I was particularly interested in companies that provided advanced women's health," Hrenko said.

Meanwhile, Wille and her husband have been trying to have a baby for years. She was a realtor and her husband is an educator. She was on her husband's insurance for multiple rounds of intrauterine insemination and IVF.

"We probably spent a good six figures," Wille said. "And my husband's insurance didn't cover any of it."

The nurses at the fertility clinic noticed she was paying a lot of money out of pocket, so they suggested she get a job at Starbucks. She started working two jobs, including one at Starbucks, so she could receive those benefits for more IVF rounds and surgery. Now, her first newborn is due in April.

"Being able to feel her kick, I'm just like, I won't complain about any pregnancy symptom at all," Wille said. "Just having that excitement. Oh, my God, like night and day."

Data from Mercer National Surveyof Employer-Sponsored Health Plans shows there's been a steady growth in employers providing fertility benefits since 2015. 2022 data has not yet been released for most survey-based reports, but numbers from Fertility IQ show that in 2019, 478 large organizations provided family-building benefits. In 2020, that number was 701. And in 2021, that number grew to 758. It's something both mothers say they're elated about.

"I wish I would have done it sooner," Wille said. "The egg retrievals were about 40,000 a pop."

"It's such an incentive," Hrenko said. "One in eight people have problems with fertility."

Beyond word of mouth, Hrenko says there are infertility groups on Facebook that list employers who offer reproductive health benefits. However, she says it would be a lot easier if companies chose to promote benefits online for people wanting to apply.