Walmart Expansion of Employee Reproductive Health Benefits Mirrors Voter Views

The largest private employer in the United States, Walmart, just announced new employee benefits designed to aid pregnant workers whose lives may be endangered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic June 24 decision to strip American women of their right to bodily autonomy. Walmart’s announcement, as well as a new plan to cover family-building services such as IVF and surrogacy for some employees, might be surprising for a company long criticized for shirking on wages and benefits for its immense, largely part-time workforce. But it signals a current reality that Walmart’s savvy retailers well understand: The majority of American workers want access to affordable family-building technologies and reproductive health care, and, in a tight labor market, offering that access is a powerful recruitment and retention tool.

In an internal memo August 19 from its Chief People Officer Donna Morris, Walmart announced its health care plans will now cover abortion services under specific circumstances for employees who are eligible for benefits, CNN reported. The coverage would be available only in cases of “health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability.” The company also announced it will expand its travel coverage to include travel for abortion services, in those limited circumstances, where they are unavailable within 100 miles, as reported by ABC7 Chicago.

Walmart Expands Employee Fertility Benefits

The Walmart announcement comes as the company launches expanded coverage for assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI) and egg cryopreservation, as well as surrogacy expenses and a four-fold increase in adoption support, ABC7 reported. Chief People Office Morris said the company acted to expand its reproductive health coverage after “listening to our associates about what’s important to them.”

“We strive to provide quality, competitive and accessible health coverage that supports you and your families,” Morris wrote in the internal memo. It is unclear how many of the company’s 1.6 million U.S. workers are eligible for employee health benefits.

Walmart’s apparent embrace of expanded reproductive health benefits for its employees at first glance is a bit surprising. The company has long been criticized for its low wages and its business model of employing a largely parttime workforce ineligible for health care benefits, often placing a burden on local government services. The company and its founding family also were known as supporters and funders of Republican and conservative candidates and causes.

Private Companies Use Fertility Benefits for Employee Recruitment, Retention

In recent years, though, the company has taken steps to rehabilitate its image. As noted in a Politico report late last year, Walmart has actively collaborated with the Biden administration on alleviating supply chain issues. The company also has shifted its political activities over the past several years, contributing equally to Democrats and Republicans in 2020.

While politics may play a part in Walmart’s expansion of reproductive healthcare benefits, a major motivation may be to sustain staffing levels in an exceedingly tight labor market. With the U.S. economy still adding hundreds of thousands of jobs each quarter, American workers have more choices than they once did. Walmart is following a trend we wrote about earlier: high-tech and major corporations are using reproductive healthcare benefits such as coverage for IVF and fertility preservation services as recruitment incentives and retention tools. Major companies offering fertility benefits include AT&T, IBM, Liberty Mutual, Lyft TD Bank, CVS Health Corp., Cigna Corp. and Gilead Sciences, to name a few. According to a 2021 survey by Mercer, 42 percent of companies with 20,000 or more employees offered IVF coverage in 2020; 19 percent covered egg freezing services.

‘We are definitely seeing the private sector lead the way in terms of adding fertility and family-building benefits,” Betsey Campbell, a spokesperson for Resolve, the National Infertility Association, told CBS News. “They are recognizing this is important to their employees, and it helps them with recruitment, retention, and diversity, equity and inclusion objectives. It is a way to be a family-friendly company. You cannot get more family friendly than helping employees build families.”

State laws, such as those in New York and California, require qualifying employers to include reproductive health coverage in their employee benefits programs, as we reported last year. For more on which states require reproductive health coverage, the National Conference of State Legislatures offers an informative state-by-state statutory roundup.

U.S. Workers, Voters Want Accessible Reproductive Health Services

In the aftermath of the devastating Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned 50 years of legal precedent to strip American women of their right to abortion services, many private companies, including Walmart, have responded by offering support, such as travel coverage, to employees placed in dire circumstances by onerous state bans on even life-saving abortion procedures. We at IFLG are thankful that some women, fortunate enough to have employee health benefits, will receive this lifeline to avoid the most tragic consequences.

The supportive corporate response to Dobbs as well as the growing number of companies offering fertility and family-building services as an employee benefit tell us two things: One, in a tight labor market within a still-growing economy, workers have a lot of pull. Employers, eager to meet consumer demand pent up from pandemic lockdowns, are doing whatever they can to attract and then retain employees.

Two, those employees—and the American electorate of which they compose a significant chunk—want these services. They want the flexibility to choose to start a family when and if they are ready. They want insurance coverage to alleviate the high costs of advanced reproductive and family-building technologies. They want reproductive health care to be legal and available when deemed necessary by employees and their physicians. As much as anything else, the private sector push to make reproductive health services available to employees, safely, is a reflection of the position of the American public. Let’s hope that reality translates at the ballot box in the midterm elections coming up and in the psyches of the candidates who are running.

For help with your questions about assisted reproductive technology legal issues, contact our expert team of fertility attorneys and paralegals at International Fertility Law Group.


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.