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Family Building And Fertility Benefits: Transforming The Landscape Of Employee Benefits

Family-building practices have been evolving for decades, and while several viable options are now available to those in the family planning stage, they often come with a hefty price tag. Modern family-building can be an expensive journey, and employee benefits have a vital role to play in helping working professionals achieve their dreams of growing a family.

A recent survey found that 42% of employees consider the availability of fertility benefits through their employer to be a deal breaker in contemplating job offers. This number reflects the growing need for family-building support among professionals in today’s workforce. While one in six Canadian couples struggle with infertility, only half of the provinces and territories offer a measure of public funding for family creation, leaving a large number of Canadians with significant out-of-pocket expenses. These circumstances place employers in a ripe position to demonstrate their commitment to supporting their employees by offering valuable family-building and fertility benefits coverage. 

Family Building Offerings

As workplaces and industries become more diverse, with people from different ages, relationships, and orientations, so do the paths to parenthood. The range of family-building services available today affords couples and individuals the ability to choose services that best align with their needs and desires. Beyond a simple dollar amount, the types of coverage available to employees make a big difference in supporting their unique situation. 


Fertility treatments can be a stressful experience with high emotional, physical, and financial impacts on couples and individuals. There are several fertility options available to consider, depending on the particular circumstances of the parents.

  • Fertility Drugs: Medication can be effective for correcting some infertility issues, regulating ovulation, and supporting pregnancy.
  • Lab and Diagnostic Services: Tests and Imaging are required to determine the best action.
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): Also known as artificial insemination. A procedure where healthy sperm is inserted into the uterus during ovulation. The average cost of IUI treatment ranges from $ 1K to $4K, excluding sperm wash and medication costs involved. 
  • Invitro Fertilization (IVF): A procedure where a healthy egg is extracted and fertilized by sperm in a lab. The healthy embryo is then placed into the womb. The average cost of IVF ranges from $10K to $15K per cycle, and a successful pregnancy often requires multiple cycles. 
  • Sperm testing, preparation, and freezing; egg and embryo retrieval, screening, and storage. The cost of these various treatments and services ranges from $50/month for storage to $7500 per egg-freezing cycle. 


In circumstances where one or both parents are not able to carry a child to term – whether as a result of infertility issues or because neither parent has a uterus, surrogacy can be a viable path to parenthood. The process of surrogacy involves transferring embryos from the intended parent(s) or a donor to a gestational carrier through IVF.  Many costs involved in fertility treatment listed above are also applicable when prospective parents choose to pursue surrogacy services.  The average cost of surrogacy in Canada ranges from $60K to $100K, which includes permissible agency, legal, and medical fees. 


For couples and individuals who choose to pursue the path of adoption, it is likely to be a very lengthy and costly process that can take months or years to conclude, with legal, travel, and adoption fees factoring in considerably. Costs for private domestic adoption can range from $10K to $25K per child, and the range for international costs increases to $25K to $50K. Couple’s and family counseling, parent-child activity programs, and family coaching are some other out-of-pocket expenses that may also factor into this family-building scenario. 

Benefits That Build Loyalty

A 2023 Carrot Fertility survey found that financial challenges are the biggest roadblock to starting a family for people in the planning stages of family building. Since growing a family is a critical element for so many people to experience fulfillment and enrichment in their lives, employers have the potential to “make a critical difference by providing inclusive, non-discriminatory fertility and family-building benefits.” Fertility and family-building benefits provide extremely valuable support for employees at a crucial and vulnerable point in their lives while demonstrating a resolute investment from employers.

Evolving Benefits Has Been a Long Time Coming

Companies are recognizing the need to evolve their benefits packages to better attend to the nuanced needs of the workforce. Between 2020 and 2022, there was a 25% increase in the number of Canadian employers offering fertility coverage. For people in the family planning stage, working with a company that shares their values and understands their need for flexibility to plan their career goals around their family goals is a priority. 

Organizations that shift to transform their benefits offerings to support the family-building needs of the workforce give themselves a definitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent. Companies are on a mission to bring equitable access to healthcare to all women. Dialogue recently purchased Koble, a digital health and well-being platform and their entire suite of proprietary content to help millions of women improve their health. Moves like this are a long time coming, and the employee benefits space is readily evolving to provide more nuanced and comprehensive solutions to fully support the health of all women. 

Keep an eye on the Orchard Blog to follow the development of the employee benefits landscape.