Companies are evolving to offer a broader family-building benefit that accommodates a more diverse section of the employee population. Benefit packages that include adoption and surrogacy under a single “family-building benefit” are more helpful to today’s employee workforce. In an effort to attract and retain top talent, employers have expanded their family-building benefits to be inclusive of gay couples, transgender people, and, now, men.
The conversation about fertility is often focused on women, but fertility is also very much a man’s issue: up to 50% of infertility cases are attributed to men, according to a 2015 article in the Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences.
My Personal Journey With Male Factor Infertility
I lived through a very long and challenging journey with my wife on our way to having our four children. Most of the support was focused on the patient (my wife), as it should have been. I, however, felt unprepared to emotionally support my wife while coping with the stresses of the process myself.
Having guidance on how to support my partner, and even some relationship counseling, would have been extremely helpful.
In addition to the myriad conditions my wife was facing that were impeding pregnancy, I had sperm motility issues. We did not have coverage to help me with my issues, and certainly no coverage for mental health support or guidance. This was not something that I was comfortable speaking about. I was lost, but no one could know.
Tom Smith, who is the co-founder and CEO of Dadi, an at-home sperm testing and storage company, has put it this way:
The conversations about fertility have historically centered around women.
(Related: When Clients Want to Build a Family)
This has not only placed an undue burden on women, but has also resulted in men having fewer planning options and emotional support along their fertility journeys,
In a 2017 study by the Fertility Network UK on the male experience with infertility, men reported feeling excluded and marginalized by the attention and focus directed toward their female partners. Men perceived a lack of emotional support services provided by health care professionals and the fertility clinics they encountered.
In the study, Susan Seenan, chief executive of Fertility Network said the following: