It is clear the insurance industry can more do to promote and support men and women who are going through fertility treatment.
In addition to providing financial benefits through private medical insurance, such as a set amount of treatments for IVF, employers may also provide additional support services and appropriate HR policies, including mental health support, as dealing with infertility and treatment can cause stress and anxiety.
It is worthwhile asking clients for full details of their workplace policies, to help inform the advice process when it comes to assessing how much a client will need to pay themselves for fertility treatment and any counselling or support that surrounds this process.
Already some insurance providers have made changes to their own HR and benefits policies when it comes to their own staff.
Charlotte Gentry, founder of The IVF Network, says: "In recent months, we have seen a small amount of UK firms offering to cover the cost of IVF for employees.
"This is because the pandemic and resulting lockdowns have thrust employees’ mental and physical health into corporate conversations, accelerating a trend towards benefit packages that include fertility treatments."
Aviva as an employer offers infertility treatment leave to staff, for example, while Axa in the UK supports its own workforce with time off and paid leave for infertility treatment both for employees and for their partners.
In the US, a study from fertility treatment consultancy FertilityIQ ranked companies across various sectors based on how much support they give to staff going through fertility treatment. The companies were ranked in the Family Builder Workplace Index 2019-20.
Insurance companies scored well in terms of fertility benefits: Lincoln Financial Group, Sedgwick and Mass Mutual each racked up 64,000 points for covering at least two IVF cycles.
They were followed by AIG and Symetra, Kenworth Insurance, MetLife, Liberty Mutual, and GEICO.
Help for employees
MetLife in the UK has followed suit recently, offering specific help via medical support helpline Health At Hand to support employees with their health, including fertility issues, as well as paid leave.
Amy Tomlinson, head of HR at MetLife, comments: "We are now offering staff five additional days' paid leave from work if they are going through fertility treatment.
"As an employer, we recognised that numerous appointments and days off to recover from treatment are necessary when an employee or their partner is undergoing treatment.
"Rather than having to take sick days or use their holiday for this, we’ve gone one step further to offer additional leave, so that people can achieve a better work/life balance where they don’t have to choose between their personal and professional responsibilities."
According to Tomlinson, there has been good engagement with the policy since it was launched in 2020, and the company is encouraging other businesses to follow the same approach.