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How to support employees on their fertility journeys during a recession

How to support employees on their fertility journeys during a recession

. 4 min read

Navigating the financial challenges and emotional strain of fertility treatments during tough economic times.

The demand for comprehensive fertility benefits is high. One in ten women in heterosexual relationships report they’ve had conversations about infertility treatment with their doctor. Meanwhile, 60% of LGBTQ+ millennials plan to use assistive reproductive technologies (ART) to start a family in the next several years.

Yet it may seem challenging to devote limited budget dollars to fertility benefits, especially when recession concerns affect how HR and people teams do business. But leaders shouldn’t be discouraged by perceived roadblocks in the family-building journey. In fact, employers actually reap many financial advantages by offering fertility benefits — both upstream and downstream.

Today, we’ll discuss several strategies employers can use to support employees on their path to parenthood, even during the most challenging economic times.

1. Evaluate your current fertility benefits plan

If your organization already offers a fertility benefits plan, consider auditing its results to determine if better cost savings are possible. Stats for consideration may include benefit utilization rates and employee satisfaction scores. But remember: although only a small percentage of your employee base may use certain benefits, these offerings likely have an outsized impact on those individuals. Therefore, it’s crucial to cross-reference satisfaction rates with usage rates to ensure you’re providing the best value.

Conducting a data-driven analysis of your plan will help you make informed decisions about potential changes. For example, you may determine that your current provider hasn’t reduced your organization’s birth-related medical spending, including costs incurred through neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) days, preterm/postpartum complications, and ongoing child development care costs. Ideally, your family-building benefits partner will curb these costs significantly by working with a top-tier network of providers.

At Stork Club, for instance, we work with a “narrow network” of vetted, inclusive providers — that way, our clients know their employees consistently receive high-quality care. Thanks to this selective partnership, employees in the Stork Club network boast a 4% IVF multiple birth rate compared to 16.3% of the overall U.S. population. As a result, Stork Club network members experience fewer costs associated with twin and triplet births.

Organizations that don’t offer fertility benefits can conduct a similar audit by anonymously surveying all employees to decide which benefits are most desired. More likely than not, you’ll learn that top talent (including applicants and top performers in your organization) increasingly request and prioritize family-building solutions.

2. Partner with a specialized fertility benefits provider

Working with a specialized fertility benefits provider like Stork Club can help optimize your organization’s fertility benefits program while minimizing costs. Our expertise allows us to offer personalized solutions tailored to your organization’s needs, ensuring your employees receive the highest quality care at competitive rates.

A few benefits of partnering with Stork Club include

Higher live birthing rates via IVF: Stork Club network members experience a 20% higher live birth rate than out-of-network individuals using IVF, which translates to fewer sleepless nights and costly IVF cycles for employees. We accomplish this by partnering with vetted, high-quality partner clinics.

Up to 70% reduction in fertility Rx costs: Traditional healthcare plans often provide clients with overpriced specialty drugs. Even more troublingly, prior authorization charges (or preauthorization and precertification) needlessly drive up Rx costs for providers. Stork Club provides network members with high-quality, low-cost medications with no authorization period, creating up to 70% cost savings for employers.

High performance, readily available HR and benefits team: Our team can help you navigate the complexities of fertility benefits, assisting with plan design, employee education, and ongoing support. We process all member claims in-house and deliver an anonymized, HIPAA-compliant monthly report, so you don’t have to worry about transparency or controlling costs. All-in-one hub for family-building benefits: Stork Club consolidates new and existing family-building offerings into one comprehensive dashboard, so you don’t have to shell out for point solutions. Additionally, this hub streamlines the employee experience, eradicating the need for dozens of HR-related apps and sites.

3. Offer plans that prioritize preventative care, education, and medications

Prevention is key to avoiding downstream costs associated with fertility care. Through your benefits provider, offer employees resources and educational materials on fertility, family planning, and overall wellness. At Stork Club, we make this information easily accessible through our app, which provides quick breakdowns of care options.

Prioritize working with a provider that doesn’t build high barriers to treatment for your employees. Traditional healthcare providers often require prior authorization processes that create higher medication prices and a poor user experience. Sometimes, these processes can even bar or delay employees from receiving necessary care. As a leading family-building benefits provider, Stork Club never asks clients to jump through hoops to receive medically necessary, high-quality care or medications — our Rx program includes low-cost options, complete medical guidance, and overnight shipping.

4. Select a benefits plan that places an employee’s health and well-being first

This is particularly vital to both the employer and employee because it may circumvent costly and even dangerous birth-related treatments downstream.

For example, consider the U.S.’s unusually high rate of C-section births (32.1% as of 2021). Long-term risks associated with unnecessary C-section births include pelvic floor dysfunction for the birthing person, asthma for the child and, in some cases, perinatal death.

But with the right treatment plan, these risks can be avoided. Studies show that the presence of a doula during the birthing journey can remarkably improve birth outcomes, including fewer birth complications, instances of low birth weight (LBW) babies, and C-sections. These outcomes are why we recently launched our Birth Doula Program, the first of its kind in the U.S., which extends managed doula care coverage to Stork Club members The program has already been demonstrated to lower the occurrence of unnecessary C-sections by 45%.

Other pivotal offerings include postpartum counseling and infertility coaching, which aid employees on their birthing journey. These offerings are critical because they address feelings of isolation that can contribute to dissatisfaction, depression, and anxiety. When these negative emotions are addressed healthily, employees are more satisfied and present at work, creating fewer productivity-related downstream costs.

At Stork Club, access to critical reproductive healthcare is a basic human right. Join us on the mission to make reproductive care available for all. Interested in adding Stork Club to your team? Sign up to view a demo.