Buyer’s guide to fertility benefits

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What are fertility benefits?

Fertility benefits are wide-ranging and include comprehensive support and treatment for individuals. The benefits cover the key areas of medicines, procedures and assisted conception, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Employers use the services of providers to offer fertility and parenthood-planning care to their employees, often as a funded benefit.

Most providers have in-house accredited medical teams that will assist an employee from the very first stage of their fertility journey, to birth, and beyond to support during parenthood. For example, Carrot offers access to care including fertility preservation, including egg, sperm, and embryo freezing, assisted reproduction, adoption, gestational surrogacy, pregnancy, postpartum, and return-to-work support.

Peppy offers one-to-one support with fertility experts via a chat function or a virtual consultation. Its practitioners offer help with treatment options, testing, mental wellbeing support or lifestyle changes.

Apricity is a virtual fertility clinic and offers consultations online with its in-house medical team, and the choice of blood tests and IVF scans at home when possible, meaning that employees only need two in-person appointments per cycle on average.

Meanwhile, Hertility’s packages include expert-led workshops alongside at-home hormone and fertility testing, telemedicine services and onward fertility support for employees. This support includes referrals for pelvic ultrasound scans and egg-freezing cycles.

What are the cost implications?

Employers can fund fertility services as a benefit and reimburse employees or pay for treatment in full or up to a set limit which they contribute to either each year or across an employee’s time at the organisation. Employees will pay for any extra costs over this amount. Employers can also use private medical insurance (PMI) to pay for fertility treatment.

Employers can pay for diagnostics and treatment such as IVF or egg freezing and can adapt their plans according to employee needs. According to Apricity, for example, many employers that are seeking to improve inclusivity in their benefits or workforce may choose to cover egg freezing or fertility treatments for LGBTQ or trans employees.

Prices can vary depending on the services and providers’ plans often offer flexibility to suit different sized organisations and budgets. Peppy bases its price on the demographics of an organisation to ensure as fair as possible estimation of usage, and costs can vary per size of the employer. Carrot states that some clients have chosen to cover €4,000 (around £3,421) in fertility care over an employee’s lifetime with the organisation, while other customers may cover €50,000 (around £42,765) or more in care for employees.

Hertility notes that within its packages, hormone and fertility testing is subsidised by the employer, along with educational workshops. Employers have the option of providing employees with credits for use across telemedicine services and any follow-up treatment care. Hertility has also developed a  researched Reproductive Health Impact calculator, which estimates the cost of reproductive health to any business. On average for every £1 spent on Hertility Reproductive Health benefits, organisations can see a £6 return in reduced absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover.

Are there any tax or legal issues?

Employers should always seek expert tax and legal advice when considering the implications of a new product or service. PMI is a taxable benefit and should be included on an employer’s P11D form.

What are the current market trends or developments?

Fertility benefits have increasingly become an important part of an employer’s reward package and are recognised as a valued tool to support employees’ financial, emotional and physical wellbeing, as well as their motivation and engagement. Carrot’s 2023 Global fertility at work report, published in April 2023, found that 75% of individuals consider fertility benefits to be an important part of an inclusive organisational culture. Two-thirds (65%) would change jobs to work for an employer that offers fertility benefits, and 72% would stay at their organisation longer if they had access to fertility benefits.

Apricity has noted a huge uplift in organisations choosing to offer fertility benefits, however according to its market survey conducted in September 2022, only 17% of UK employers offer a fertility benefit compared to around 40% in the United States. Its expectation is that UK employers will close this gap soon.

Who are the main providers and what types of schemes do they offer?

Some of the main providers in the market include Apricity, Apryl, Bloss, Carrot, Fertifa, Hertility, Maven Clinic and Peppy.