If you are an employee interested in advocating on your own behalf for fertility benefits at your company, there are many ways to start the conversation. In fact, according to a survey by Mercer Health and Benefits and commissioned by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, 65 percent of employers that offer fertility treatment or cover some portion of IVF costs said that they began doing so in response to employee requests.
While some women aren't comfortable talking about their struggles with infertility - especially at work - if you’re open to sharing your concerns, a great place to start is with your HR department as they already manage health insurance benefits.
It’s also smart to enlist the help of other colleagues to show there is a real desire to have this type of benefit within your company. You also might try speaking to your manager and other senior level employees who might be able to assist in moving the request forward. Think of it like developing a grassroots campaign – open as many channels as possible!
When presenting your case to HR and/or the benefits team, talk in terms of where your current plan falls short. You can explain how adding a fertility benefit would improve your health and your work environment and how you feel it would fit with your company’s values.
A nice touch is to offer help with the next steps. This might include finding out who else may be interested, what you think it would accomplish for the organization (i.e. employee retention, stress reduction, or attracting a new / diverse talent pool). If you can identify current pain points for you, your team and the overall company, it will go a long way in moving the initiative forward.
Adding any benefit to a company can take time. The process is dependent on the size of the organization, whether it’s replacing a different kind of coverage, and what the process entails internally to make the decision. Depending on the company, you may need approval from the CEO, CFO or even the board.
It’s important to be patient, respectful and persistent. If this is something that affects you, odds are it will affect others within your organization. If you’re open to representing the cause, be persistent -- and remember that you’ll likely be helping not only yourself, but also your colleagues and future employees who can relate to your experience.
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