Want to hire the most qualified candidates available? Want to make sure they stay for years? Then consider offering fertility benefits. Employees over 30 are the largest group seeking fertility benefits as they prolonged starting a family during a highly reproductive time to finish higher education and specialized career training. Now their body clocks are ticking…
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infertility is a disease of the reproductive system defined by failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. As with any disease, infertility has evidence-based treatments including:
- Advanced Reproductive Technology (ART), including in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Artificial insemination (IUI)
- Egg freezing
- Fertility medications
- Fertility medications
And just like treatment for any disease, fertility treatment is not elective.
Infertility hits hardest after age 35
Over the past decades, infertility has hit women in a powerful way as they postpone starting a family. But every year a woman waits to start a family, more problems occur, including:
- She has a smaller number of eggs left
- Her eggs are not as healthy
- She is more likely to have health conditions that can cause fertility problems
- She is more likely to have a miscarriage
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 17 percent of women aged 25-44, and 9.4 percent of men the same age, sought treatment for their infertility. Also, the rate of women who had their first child between 40 and 44 has more than doubled in the past 20 years, according to the CDC. Data from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports the following:
- 1/3 ofwomen trying to conceive after age 35 will have problems getting pregnant
- 2/3 of women over age 40 will not be able to conceive without medical treatment
Fewer than 5 percent of infertility patients undergo IVF although probably 20 percent or more could benefit from treatment. The number of IVF cycles in the US is growing at a rate of 6 percent annually, driven by the following:
- Advanced Reproductive Technology, including IVF
- Same sex marriage
- Use of donor eggs
- Women waiting longer to start families
Advancing age and egg quality
Scientists are targeting the issue of egg quality when it comes to a woman’s advancing age. The longer an egg sits in the ovary, the more likely it is to develop abnormalities in its chromosomes. If an egg with abnormal chromosomes is fertilized, then the chances are greater that the resulting pregnancy will end in miscarriage. Studies confirm that more than half of all miscarriages are due to abnormal chromosomes.
A woman’s eggs are the healthiest around age 25. The maximum female fertility occurs in the mid-twenties when menstrual cycles are the most regular and ovulatory. Also, fertility is slightly decreased before age 20 and after age 30. Women over age 37 are much less fertile. In fact, the prevalence of infertility increases significantly after age 35, and by age 45, as many as 99 percent of women are infertile. 
Ovarian disorders and aging
Age plays a key role in ovarian disorders and women over 35 are prime targets. Ovulation is an exact process that is easily altered by many factors. Most ovulatory disturbances are the result of hormonal imbalances that affect follicle development.
A precise balance of the reproductive system is vital for ovulation. In some women, there is an inherent defect in the quality of eggs. Other women have a significant reduction in the number of follicles or eggs in the ovary. There is no way to halt this decline. Genetic predisposition, prior ovarian surgery, smoking, and endometriosis can accelerate the rate of egg loss or cause a decrease in egg quality. Aging also causes a progressive decline in the number and quality of a woman’s eggs.
Talking fertility benefits in the workplace
Fertility benefits are becoming a key topic for employers and employees alike. Women’s health costs, particularly around fertility and pregnancy, often characterize the largest specific cost bucket for self-insured companies — not even considering the costs of low employee retention around pregnancy. However, employers have already started a shift toward much more robust support of women in the workplace, adding fertility benefits like egg freezing or free IVF cycles to maternal health programs.
On rare occasions, self-insured programs carry almost equal weight in terms of filling key objectives for both employers and employees. One such example involves greater coverage of infertility treatments for families that decided to have children later in life.
The benefits, which can rein in significant costs and improve health outcomes, also appeal to same-sex couples who increasingly are raising their own children. Many of these couples, along with single men and women who desire families, are counseled on surrogacy or sperm and egg donation.
Fertility benefits elevate recruitment and retention strategies
Artificial reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) have helped a growing number of people realize their dream of starting a family later in life. And they’re also elevating recruitment and retention strategies in highly competitive businesses.
Nearly one third of employers expanded their benefit packages in the last 12 months to attract and retain top talent, according to the Society of Human Resource Management’s 2017 Employee Benefits Survey. Considering that more and more men and women are talking baby after 30, the rallying cry today is for more fertility benefits in the workplace.
WINFertility provides more people with access to better fertility care at a fraction of the cost.
Our comprehensive solutions give employer groups the ability to select from an employer-paid or voluntary program and the flexibility to customize their own individual plan. Contact us today for a free cost saving analysis to see how much we can save your business.
See what WINFertility can do for your business.
Fertility Solutions for All Businesses Sizes: National, Mid-sized, and Small.
 Sexual and Reproductive Health. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/infertility/definitions/en/. [Accessed July 30, 2017].
 Infertility FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm. [Accessed August 1, 2017}
 Infertility and Impaired Fecundity in the United States, 1982–2010: Data From the National Survey of Family Growth. National Health Statistics Report. Number 67. August 14, 2013. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr067.pdf. [Accessed August 1, 2017}.
 ReproductiveFacts.org. American Society of Reproductive Medicine. http://www.reproductivefacts.org/topics/topics-index/. [Accessed August 1, 2017]
 Menken J, Trussell J, Larsen U. Age and infertility. Science. 1986;233(4771):1389.
 Female age-related fertility decline. American Society of Reproductive Medicine Pages. http://www.asrm.org/globalassets/asrm/asrm-content/news-and-publications/practice-guidelines/for-non-members/female_age-related_fertility_decline-noprint.pdf.[Accessed July 31, 2017]
 Employees with Infertility are Leaving. http://www.thewrightconsultants.com/2017/04/employees-with-infertility-are-leaving-how-these-11-companies-entice- them-to-stay/. [Accessed July 29, 2017].