Utilizing fertility benefits to Reduce Healthcare Costs

06/11/2023 Written by: Written in partnership with Carrot Fertility

To be considered competitive and inclusive in today’s market, fertility benefits are becoming a must-have for employers. Family-forming options, like in vitro fertilization (IVF) or gestational carrier (GC) services, are known to be expensive, which could be discouraging for employers looking to add fertility benefits to their offerings. But, you may be surprised to learn that fertility benefits can lower healthcare costs.

That’s because clinically managed fertility benefits offer solutions prioritizing first-line interventions and medical policies that lead to more singleton births, fewer preterm births, and, ultimately, lower healthcare costs.

How much does IVF cost?

IVF is when an egg and sperm are fertilized in a lab, and an embryo is transferred to the uterus. It’s a long and challenging process — not to mention expensive. A typical cycle can cost up to $26,000; most people will do more than one cycle before they become pregnant.

Employers may also be concerned with multiple births due to IVF, which is even more expensive. According to one study, having one child will cost about $21,000, twins can cost about $105,000, and triplets or more can cost over $400,000.  IVF isn’t the only option for family forming, but sometimes it is the right choice, and there are still ways to reduce costs. 97% of survey respondents say that adding infertility coverage for IVF did not significantly increase healthcare costs.

‍Saving money now

While IVF is a vital resource, the right fertility benefit doesn’t fast-track employees to this procedure. Instead, the right care navigation can help employees understand their options and consider trying less invasive pathways first. This might include:

  1. Fertility testing

The first step for anyone attempting to start a family should be to get a fertility evaluation, including bloodwork, to help them discover their hormone levels and identify or rule out imbalances that may impact fertility. Fertility testing can set people on the right path and save time and money in the long run.

  1. Ovulation tracking

Many people don’t understand that you can get pregnant only a few days a month. Fertility tracking through tools like the Ava bracelet can help people understand their fertile window and cycle to increase their likelihood of pregnancy without other interventions.

  1. Nutritional changes

Another first-line intervention to consider is nutrition. Research shows that healthy dietary patterns among people of reproductive age have a beneficial effect on fertility — whether that's by lowering the risk of infertility related to irregular ovulation or by improving semen quality.

IVF isn’t always the right place to start if someone has trouble getting pregnant. Guiding employees to lower-cost options to start, when appropriate, is one way fertility benefits can help reduce healthcare spending.

Saving money in the long run

Sometimes, IVF will be the best option for your employees. IVF has long been associated with twin and triplet births because transferring multiple embryos was once the standard of care. Some patients also choose multiple embryo transfers in the hopes of improving their success rate or of having twins to reduce costs down the line. But while multiple births may seem appealing to save time or money, they’re much riskier than singleton births. Carrying multiples are more likely to lead to cesarean sections (C-sections), which can cost significantly more than vaginal births. Multiples can also lead to extended hospital stays for those who give birth and longer NICU stays for babies. Both will add up and cost employers more over time. Today, research shows that voluntary single embryo transfer (SET) reduces multiple gestation rates and maximizes the rate of singleton pregnancy without compromising overall success rates. 

Did you know?

At Carrot, our care navigation directs members toward (SET) to decrease some risks that carrying multiples may bring. Through education, we seek to build a partnership with our members so they understand why SET leads to healthier and more successful pregnancies. SET helps reduce:

  • The risk of low birth weight by 50+%,
  • NICU admission by 50+%,
  • The length of hospital stays by 80+%

And at 97%, Carrot's SET rate is 26% higher than the national average of 77%. Overall, SET and singleton births can save, on average, $120,000 – and that number quadruples with triplet births.

We also focus on how employees can save money upfront by providing comprehensive mental and emotional support that guides members through options for early interventions and less-invasive options. While family-forming can be expensive, it's important to remember it's necessary for many and, with the right fertility benefits package, can be more affordable than you think.

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