5 Things Gay People Need to Know about Fertility

Written by | Wellness

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Do you know what resources your company is making available to help LGBTQ employees with fertility? And are they equal to the family-building services offered to straight couples?

Achieving Equal Fertility Benefits

Recently, Starbucks announced that it will offer expanded fertility coverage to be inclusive of all employees (including LGBTQ) and boost reimbursement maximums. This is yet another step in the right direction when it comes to equal benefits and fertility coverage for LGBTQ persons. We face a different kind of infertility. Still, many companies and their benefit-providers do not reimburse family-building services like IUI, IVF, and surrogacy equally for LGBTQ singles and couples as they do for our straight allies.

Companies that Are Leading the Way in Family-Building Benefits

I wish every company would see the headlines and copy a page from Starbucks’ playbook. But we all have to work to make that happen. There are more than 100 large corporations that offer inclusive benefits that I am aware of. These include NBC Universal, Amazon and Google. If your employer does not offer fair and inclusive fertility benefits, learn from the many employees at Starbucks. They petitioned for this change. And you can work with your employee resource group for LGBTQ to advocate for similar policies and benefits from your employer.

The LGBTQ Community Is Not Asking for Special Treatment

Remember we are just asking for the same benefits as other infertile employees. We are not asking for more or something special. We are simply asking for employers to be equitable and to recognize that the desire to have a family has nothing to do with one’s sexuality. Open enrollment – the period of time when a company or employee changes or adds insurance benefits – is underway. This is a good time to revisit which costs are covered and eligibility for reimbursement through your employer’s benefits package.

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These Are Fertility Benefits Questions You Need to Ask

Here are 5 questions about your family-building benefits that LGBTQ persons should be asking right now.

  1. Is there a fertility benefit offered at this company? If the answer is yes, what treatments and testing are covered?
  2. Does this benefit apply to all employees equally, regardless of gender or sexual orientation?
  3. Are there many in-network fertility clinics near me to choose from? If yes, do any of those clinics tailor programs or services to the specific needs of the LGBTQ community? There are LGBT fertility clinics in many cities.
  4. Are reimbursements offered to all employees for procedures that are typically not covered by insurance — such as adoption and surrogacy benefits for family building?
  5. Are there any exclusions to our fertility/family-building policies that I should be aware of?

The Importance of Persistence

I encourage you to be persistent with your employer. This is especially true in regard to equal coverage for LGBTQ persons. However, in the event that your company does not offer a family-building benefit, there are other resources you can turn to for help like Gay Parents To Be, RESOLVE, RESOLVE New England and Family Equality Council.

Expanded Family-Building Coverage for LGBTQ Singles and Couples

Is your primary health plan policy not offering family-building benefits? Companies such as Progyny and WINFertility offer expanded coverage for LGBTQ singles and couples for all family building pathways. These include donor sperm IUI, donor egg with IVF, surrogacy and adoption. This allows employers to offer those benefits that are not within the primary policy. It can be a great option to raise to your HR department or representative.

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Your First Steps Toward Parenthood

Already in-the-know about your fertility coverage? A great next step is to set up an initial consultation with a fertility specialist (also known as a reproductive endocrinologist). Gay Parents To Be can connect you with an insurance advocate. They will be able to help you fully understand your benefits, and advise how to handle the costs of family building.

This information was contributed by Dr. Mark Leondires, Medical Director and Founder of
RMA of Connecticut and Gay Parents to Be.

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Last modified: December 18, 2019