Companies are entering the baby game big time. And for intended parents who want children but who are biologically unable to have them, this is great news.
Last week, IBM announced it was offering a new benefit to all its employees – up to $20,000 for expenses related to surrogacy, both for same-sex and straight couples and singles, who want to grow their family. This new benefit seems to be the result of both employee demand and increased competition among top companies to retain or attract top talent.
IBM is not the first company to offer this benefit: In April 2016, EY introduced a new employee benefit of $25,000 for fertility, surrogacy, adoption and egg freezing services. And in December 2016, American Express offered its employees 20 weeks of paid leave for new parents, and up to $35,000 for surrogacy or adoption expenses.
Surrogacy’s popularity has soared in recent years, as same-sex couples are getting married and want children, and as women are working later into their careers and postponing having children. Infertility rates among straight couples have also increased significantly in recent years. About 10% of women in the U.S. are infertile, according to the CDC. And about 1 in 9 babies in the U.S. is born through the surrogacy process.
These societal trends are the driving force behind the new trend in corporate benefits.
If you are thinking about surrogacy, and are an employee at one of these forward-thinking companies, you are lucky. But if not, you might be able to convince your HR department to offer surrogacy benefits, just as employees from IBM did.