Fertility Benefits Continue to Grow in Popularity

Fertility Benefits Continue to Grow in Popularity

More and more employers in the US are adding fertility benefits to their rewards packages in an effort to attract and retain employees who are interested in starting families. The latest organization to do so is State Street, which has added fertility and more generous adoption assistance to its benefits package in a deliberate effort to be more inclusive of LGBT employees in particular, Amanda Eisenberg reports at Employee Benefit News:

The financial services firm consulted its employees in an effort to make a meaningful expansion to its benefits package, which now includes four weeks of fully paid leave for employees who are primary caregivers to a child born via surrogacy; $20,000 in reimbursement for fertility-related expenses beyond the firm’s medical plans, such as surrogacy; and $20,000 in reimbursement for adoption assistance (up from its previous reimbursement of $5,000). The company says the benefits can be used once per calendar year and employees are allowed up to $40,000 in lifetime financial support for these benefits combined.

State Street is by no means alone in embracing fertility benefits as a talent attractor: A Willis Towers Watson survey conducted in January found that 66 percent of US employers expect to offer these benefits by next year, compared to 55 percent in 2017. These programs are also becoming more inclusive of LGBT employees who are looking to start families: 65 percent of employers who offer fertility benefits currently provide coverage to same-sex couples, but 81 percent are expected to by 2019. Employers told Willis Towers Watson that their main motivations for providing fertility benefits were to support diversity and inclusion, to help attract and retain top talent, to be recognized as a “best place to work,” and to foster a more woman-friendly workplace.

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Egg Freezing Might Not Be All It’s Cracked up to Be

Egg Freezing Might Not Be All It’s Cracked up to Be

Last week, the Pentagon announced a series of family leave policy changes aimed at improving the retention of women in the armed forces, including a blanket policy of 12 weeks’ paid maternity leave for new mothers in every branch. Another addition was a pilot program that will allow some service members to freeze sperm or eggs, but as the New York Times observed this week, that benefit could be fraught with ethical, legal, and practical issues:

“Freezing sperm and eggs is not like freezing chicken for dinner,” said Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “What happens if you die — can your wife use it? And what if your mother wants grandchildren and your wife doesn’t, does that mean the sperm can be used with a surrogate? If you’re cognitively disabled, can it be used? And what happens if the company housing your sperm or eggs goes bankrupt?”

Dr. Caplan said that the practice of freezing eggs had become widespread only in the past five years, and that it could be more problematic than preserving sperm, which has been done for decades. He said the Pentagon should inform service members that the freezing of eggs is not always successful and can cause complications.

“If your eggs won’t work, you won’t find out until you’re 39,” Dr. Caplan said.

Time‘s Charlotte Alter has another concern: What if women are eventually conscripted? The Associated Press just reported that women might soon be required to register for the draft, as female soldiers are increasingly being integrated into combat roles. Alter wonders what an egg freezing benefit would mean for women whose military service was compulsory:

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