First-time login tip: If you're a REBA Member, you'll need to reset your password the first time you login.
03 Jul 2023
by Alex Zarka

Fertility benefits can work across a global workforce - here's how

Despite having differing local laws and cultures to contend with, providing fertility benefits to a global workforce doesn’t have to be fraught with difficulties

How to create fertility benefits that work across geographies.jpg 1


Over the past 30 years, large organisations have employed more and more international workers. As these organisations grow, offering benefits that are as equal as possible around the world is often a priority — and a major challenge.

If you’ve explored fertility benefit options for your global workforce, you may have already seen how complicated coverage can be. What’s acceptable in one country can be illegal in another. There are also unique cultural considerations that are an important part of each person’s and family’s experience.

These factors, such as laws and regulations around fertility, are always changing.

To provide fertility care that supports a workforce across geographies, it’s important to find a solution that understands the nuances of global fertility and family-forming services and provides support wherever employees are.

Rules, regulations and cross-border care

Some fertility options aren’t available in some countries or regions. Others have restrictions based on age, marital status, citizenship or sexual orientation.

In Poland, for example, in vitro fertilisation services are not available to single women or same-sex couples. In Germany, fertility treatment with donor eggs is not allowed. And in many parts of the world working with a gestational surrogate is not permitted.

But in some countries that don’t allow certain procedures domestically, it may be legal to seek care in another country. Cross-border care is one way to help improve access to services between locations that have different laws around fertility — but this can be complex, and legal and logistical support are critical.

Understanding financial and cultural nuances

It’s also important for a fertility benefits solution to have a strong understanding of each country’s healthcare system and how it interacts with fertility services in that country.

It’s also critical for true global support that a fertility benefits solution cater for different cultures. Knowing about stigmas or cultural expectations can ensure that care coordinators can provide appropriate support. For example, elective egg freezing is technically available in Japan, but it isn’t as publicly discussed or widely accepted compared with some other countries, and only a small number of clinics perform this service.

If it doesn’t seem that the fertility solution you’re evaluating has both software capabilities built on this knowledge and relationships with experts on the ground in a country, they may not be aware of local cultural practices that could be part of your employee’s path to parenthood. This lack of knowledge could make access to those services virtually impossible.

Vetting providers on global offerings

As you evaluate vendors for your global workforce, there are a few questions you can ask to better understand their global expertise and determine whether their offerings provide the level of support you need. Consider asking:

What steps does your organisation take when launching in a new country or city? This question will help you assess how thorough the solution’s process is when offering services in a new area. This is important to ensure your current locations, as well as any future sites, are well supported.

How do you comply with local rules, regulations, and laws? This question gets at the solution’s understanding of the complexity of fertility and fertility laws around the world — and to make sure your organisation isn’t putting itself at risk.

How you would help an employee that needs care that isn’t accessible in their home country? It’s important to understand what resources are available for employees living in countries where care may not be available domestically.

How many providers are in your directory, and what is your approach to vetting them? Every country is different in terms of how many providers they have and standards of practice. Having access to high-quality, in-country care is important. Does the solution consider access and include enough provider options?

If a fertility solution struggles to answer any of these questions, or if it seems like they approach each country the same way, these are red flags that they might be taking their UK solution and applying it globally without considering country-specific nuances.

A solution that isn’t truly global may also provide only limited offerings to members outside the UK. Finding a global solution can take some additional digging, but it’s worth it to offer benefits parity to your employees, no matter where they are.

This article originally appeared on carrotfertility.com

In partnership with Carrot

Comprehensive and inclusive fertility care platform, supporting family forming and hormonal health.

Contact us today