Supporting Fertility in the Workplace

Infertility is described as a disease according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and while other diseases such as cancer and diabetes are covered by most employers under their health benefits packages, infertility treatment has taken a back seat. While it is no secret that an unsupported workforce lacks in performance, the added stress and anxiety of struggling with infertility have been shown to lead to employees’ loss of confidence, withdrawal, and even feeling the need to resign. Thankfully, with an increasingly competitive job market and taboos associated with infertility waning, employers are finally realizing the advantages fertility benefits bring to the table, including increased productivity. Fertility is a workplace matter, and support shouldn’t just be given to those who conceive naturally, but also to those who seek to create families through the use of artificial reproductive technologies.

Offer a Range of Reproductive Health Benefits

Offering a wide range of reproductive health benefits is an excellent way to support employees. Such a benefits package might include coverage for egg and sperm freezing, in vitro fertilization (IVF), genetic testing for embryos, surrogacy, and any number of other fertility treatments. Offering a wider range of benefits not only gives more options for intended parents but also acknowledges that no two fertility journeys are the same. For example, some women who choose to pursue their careers early in life may want to freeze their eggs in order to create families in the future. Other employees might experience infertility and need fertility treatments such as IVF or require a surrogate to fulfill their dreams of parenthood.

Including a higher lifetime maximum rate for treatments in an employee benefits package may also increase healthier outcomes. The cost of a single round of IVF can cost well over $12,000, with many intended parents needing multiple rounds of IVF to create their families. While many companies have provided some fertility benefits for the last several years, the coverage often isn’t enough to cover the financial cost associated with assisted reproductive technology. According to The New York Times, company benefits that cover genetic testing of embryos to identify abnormalities allow for the healthiest embryo to be implanted during IVF, resulting in a higher percentage of live births. David Schlanger, chief executive of Progyny, tells the Times, “Most women without coverage or with traditional carrier coverage are shopping for cost on every procedure and adding up how many dollars they have left, so they make compromises on treatment. The typical compromise? Placing more than one embryo into a womb in hopes that one or more of those eggs will create the much-dreamed-of ‘live birth.’” In most cases, however, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends only implanting one embryo at a time, not only for the health of the intended parent or surrogate but to also create a higher chance of a live birth and a healthy baby.

Allow for Flexibility During Fertility Treatments

Employees undergoing fertility treatment may also require flexible working hours. With many treatments requiring injections and multiple medical appointments, accommodating the intended parent with a flexible work schedule can help. This may include modified start times or allowing a telecommuting day. Michelle Joseph, head of people at global marketing agency Iris, tells The Drum, “I just don’t see how we can say to someone, ‘no, not on our time.’ It’s an all-consuming treatment. These guys are on a schedule.” Undergoing treatments can be incredibly stressful both emotionally and physically, so allowing flexibility may help in alleviating any added stress.

Flexibility may also mean giving an employee time to grieve, as not all fertility treatments end in a live birth, and this can be devastating to the intended parents. When discussing how pregnancy and parenthood affect all aspects of life, including work-life, Emma Menzies, Fertility at Work Coach and former employment lawyer, tells Forbes, “But the same can be said for difficulties conceiving and miscarriage, yet pregnancy and parenthood are accepted and accommodated in the workplace in a way that difficulties conceiving and miscarriage are not.” She goes on to say, “Fertility is a workplace matter too, and it’s time it receives that recognition.”

Offer a Fertility Benefits Package Inclusive to Everyone

One of the best ways to support employees with fertility struggles is to offer a benefits policy that is inclusive to everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or relationship status. Although more companies are offering equal access, some continue to have antiquated policies that don’t offer fertility benefits until an employee has tried to conceive naturally via sexual intercourse for 12 months, leaving out two entire demographics, the LGBTQ community, and single intended parents according to the Times.

Emma, 38, who identifies as part of the LGBTQ community and is using only her first name for privacy, tells the Times that she had to take out thousands of dollars in personal loans after being denied access to fertility benefits from her employer, even after she was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve, because her insurance required her to “try naturally for 12 months before they would cover anything.”

Equal access to fertility benefits for males is also important for inclusivity. As we reported last year, male sperm counts have dropped 50 percent worldwide over the last 50 years. Even though men today struggle with infertility more than their fathers and grandfathers did, fertility issues are still largely considered female issues. Although one-third is related to female factors, and another third to a combination of both female and male factors as well as unknown causes, the final one-third of infertility diagnoses is in fact, a direct result of male infertility. Despite that fact, many employers don’t offer their male employees the same health coverage options as women who are struggling with fertility.

According to Business Insider, this may mean offering men a full range of hormone and sperm testing services as well as sperm cryopreservation. Providing male employees with the same opportunities as women who seek testing and treatment helps in the infertility-solving process.

Business Insider also goes on to suggest a ‘Partner Agreement’ in the policy is beneficial, as most men undergoing fertility treatment have a partner, thus allowing both intended parents to have access to fertility care.

Educate Employees About Their Benefits

Making sure employees know they have health coverage for infertility is a great step in creating a supportive environment. Many intended parents struggle with infertility in silence and shame. It can be an isolating experience and without proper communication, employees may not even know they have access to coverage. Companies can offer resources that are readily available and easy to access for anyone who has any questions regarding their benefits. This can include leaflets, meetings, or even anonymous ways to access health information and benefits. Fertility struggles are incredibly stressful, filled with highs and lows, and although many employees may not talk about their struggles, making it known that they have a place to go for answers shows support.

Offering a supportive environment for fertility in the workplace is invaluable. For too long, intended parents have struggled to operate at the same pace and productivity level at work while facing the pressure and stress of their fertility journey. The two don’t coexist without sacrifices, but an employer who provides its employees with benefits, inclusion, flexibility, and education not only improves the workforce dynamic, but gains in the process, higher recruitment and retention rates, higher performances, and a happier workforce. It is time to change the narrative about employer reproductive health benefits.

Richard Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn is founder and principal of International Fertility Law Group, one of the world’s largest and best-known law firms focused exclusively on assisted reproductive technology, or ART, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), surrogacy, sperm donation or egg donation. Rich is co-author of the book “Developing A Successful Assisted Reproduction Technology Law Practice,” American Bar Association Publishing, 2017.

Peiya Wang
Paralegal (律师助理)

Peiya Wang joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2015, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases and provides translation services for many of IFLG’s international clients. Peiya moved to the United States in 2012 to attend Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, receiving a Master of Science degree in Global Studies and International Affairs in 2014. Peiya moved to Los Angeles in 2015, received her paralegal certification from UCLA Extension, and obtained her second Master of Science degree in Legal Studies from Loyola Law School. Peiya relocated back to her hometown, Beijing, China in 2019 and works from IFLG’s Beijing office. When away from the office, Peiya is a dragon boat paddler and a ballroom dancer, where she favors Rumbas and Cha-chas. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Luis Sosa

Luis R. Sosa joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2016, where he enjoys pursuing his passion for family and reproductive law. While working toward his bachelor’s degree at Florida International University which he received in 2013, Luis worked as a paralegal and legal assistant for family law litigation firms in Miami and Washington, D.C. As a paralegal and case manager for IFLG, Luis, who is bilingual in English and Spanish, manages surrogacy, egg donation and other reproductive law cases. Luis has worked for IFLG in both Los Angeles as well as San Francisco, and is currently based in Dallas, Texas. In addition to spending time with husband Randy and dog Marty, Luis enjoys being outdoors and appreciating the arts.

Toni Hughes

After receiving her B.S. in Business Management, Toni joined IFLG to pursue her dream of working in the legal field. As a Paralegal with over 10 years of experience in the assisted reproduction technology field, Toni is our Managing Paralegal, responsible for training and managing our paralegal staff. From drafting legal documents to assisting our clients with post-birth matters, Toni embraces the challenge of learning something new in this field each day. Besides spending time with her son, Jordan, Toni enjoys exploring new things, cooking, spending time with family and friends, and serving as a Youth Advisor for “Next Generation.”


Kim has over 30 years of experience in the legal field and has worked exclusively in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 1999. Kim is a senior case manager responsible for managing parental establishment cases and interacting with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorneys across the country. With three children of her own, Kim understands the importance of family and finds working in this area of law a rewarding experience.

Rich Vaughn

Attorney Rich Vaughn combined his personal passion as a father of twin boys born via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with more than 20 years of experience in business and technology law to build International Fertility Law Group. Today IFLG is one of the most successful and best-known law firms in the world focused exclusively on fertility law, helping thousands of intended parents through empathetic listening, compassionate guidance, and unmatched legal expertise. As an advocate for reproductive freedom, Rich also contributes his knowledge and time to improving the understanding and practice of ART law, most recently as a founder of and speaker at the first Cambridge University International Surrogacy Symposium held in June 2019, as immediate past chair of the American Bar Association ART Committee, and as a popular presenter to law schools, faculty and advocacy organizations all over the world.

Elizabeth Tamayo

Elizabeth received her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice from California State University of Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating, she continued her education at the University of California, Los Angeles where she obtained her Paralegal certificate. Elizabeth is fluent in Spanish and has been in the legal field since 2009. She is excited to be a part of the IFLG Team helping families realize their dreams.

Sunny Chien

Sunny joined IFLG as a paralegal in 2017, where she manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s international clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from California State University of Los Angeles, where she graduated cum laude. Sunny is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has extensive experience as a legal assistant and paralegal at Los Angeles-area law firms. She is excited to be part of the IFLG team. In her spare time, Sunny enjoys spending time with her family and their dog, going to the beach, cooking, and being outdoors.

Los Angeles

5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Phone:  +1 323 331 9343

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

New York

501 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1900

New York, NY 10017

Phone:  +1 844 400 2016

Email:  info@iflg.net

Website:  www.iflg.net

Molly O'Brien

Fertility law attorney Molly O’Brien began working in the field of assisted reproduction technology (ART) in 2005, at an egg donation agency and a surrogacy agency where she became familiar with all aspects of in-vitro fertilization, egg donation and the financial aspects of surrogacy. Since becoming an attorney in 2011, Molly has drafted and negotiated surrogacy, egg donation, sperm donation embryo donation agreements for hundreds of her clients all over the world.

Phoebe Sadler

Fertility law attorney Phoebe Sadler has a background in family law and has been practicing exclusively in the area of assisted reproduction technology (ART) law since 2018.

Rubina Aslanyan

Rubina has an extensive background in the legal field as a paralegal in Family Law and has worked in surrogacy and assisted reproduction law since 2012. Her area of focus is in managing and assisting clients with surrogacy, egg donation, and parental establishment cases for many of IFLG’s domestic and international clients. During her spare time, Rubina enjoys spending time with her family and dog Bella, traveling and cooking.

Alexander Espinoza
Legal Assistant

Alexander joined IFLG as a legal assistant in 2019, where he manages surrogacy, egg donation and parental establishment cases. Alex is bilingual in English and Spanish and has been in the legal field for 23 years. Alex is excited to join the IFLG team and pursuing his will to help others in the reproductive law process. In his spare time he loves spending time with his family and friends, being outdoors, road trips, loves music and dancing.

Cara Stecker
Senior Paralegal

After receiving her paralegal certificate in 2005, Cara began working in assisted reproductive law. During the fifteen years Cara has worked in this field, she has gained a wide range of experience and knowledge that she uses to help better assist clients and those involved in the assisted reproductive journey. Cara’s primary roles involve managing parental establishment matters and coordination with IFLG’s Of Counsel attorney network, drafting contracts and parental establishment court documents and providing support to other team members. Cara finds great joy in being a small part of a team of caring people who help others achieve their dream of having a family. In her spare time, Cara enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, watching her children play the sports they love, and she enjoys, running, cycling and exploring the outdoors in the sun.

Stephanie Kimble

Stephanie received her BS in History and Political Thought from Concordia University Irvine in 2015 and her Paralegal Certificate from University of San Diego later that same year. She has been working as a Paralegal since 2016 in Family and Reproductive Law. She is excited to be part of International Fertility Law Group working on managing Surrogacy, Egg donation and Parental Establishment Cases.

Trish Pittman
Assistant Financial Coordinator

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of accounting, Trish joined the IFLG team in 2019 as Assistant Financial Coordinator. Her client-facing focus at IFLG is to assist with all client trust accounting. Trish is the mother of two daughters and enjoys spending time teaching and learning new things from them. In her free time, she loves long walks in the park and reading suspense and mystery novels.

Katie Deaquino
Senior Paralegal

Katie is a Senior Paralegal with IFLG and has dedicated over sixteen years to the areas of surrogacy and reproductive law. She received her Paralegal Certificate from Coastline Community College and has worked with some of the top law firms in the assisted reproduction community. Katie is also a commissioned Notary Public. With IFLG, Katie manages Surrogacy, Egg Donation, and Parental Establishment cases and provides support to other IFLG team members. Katie truly enjoys helping others build their families through assisted reproduction and is thankful she has had the rewarding experience of assisting IFLG clients. Katie often spends her free time with her Husband, four young children and her bulldog “Bella”.

Elsa Jimenez
Legal Assistant

Elsa joined IFLG as a Legal Assistant in 2019, bringing more than 35 years of experience working in the legal profession (concentrating in tort and litigation matters). At IFLG she assists surrogates with their surrogacy and parental matters. The oldest of five siblings, born and raised in East Los Angeles to Mexican immigrant parents, Elsa loves “seeing the beauty of families forming” through assisted reproductive technology. She and her husband Carlos have four children and one grandson. Elsa enjoys jazz and ’80s music, being outdoors in nature, collecting teacups and tea pots, and spending time with her close-knit family.