In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, we’re addressing the elephant in the room head-on: Many Americans who need in-vitro fertilization (IVF) still can’t afford it.

With the average cost of a single IVF cycle ranging from $15,000 to $30,000, IVF insurance coverage has become a necessary health benefit. Unfortunately, despite the increase in employer-offered infertility coverage, these benefits remain out of reach for a significant number of Americans. This is for several reasons: Not all employers offer IVF coverage, and only a fraction of states offer fertility insurance coverage mandates. Plus, the definition of fertility insurance coverage varies from state to state — to put it mildly.

Let’s start with the good news: As of September 2023, 21 states and Washington, D.C., have passed fertility insurance laws, with 15 of those laws requiring IVF coverage. Since these laws differ by state, offers this handy tool to help infertility patients better understand their benefits and options. But it’s also important to remember that even if your home state mandates fertility coverage, these requirements only apply to companies whose plans are regulated by the state.

According to the benefits consultant Mercer, 54% of the biggest U.S. employers (those with 20,000 workers or more) covered IVF in 2022. Smaller companies (500 employees or more) also saw significant growth in this area, with 45% offering IVF coverage in 2023 as well.

If you work for a corporate giant like Google, Starbucks, or Bank of America, you likely have an excellent benefits package that includes fertility treatments. But if you work for a small company, are on a lower-income health plan like Medicaid, or have an individual insurance plan, that’s where things can get tricky. 

Since the best option for IVF benefits remains employer-based coverage, Rescripted and CCRM Fertility are working together to highlight employers that are making sure their employees are #FertilityCovered

But first, why is access to fertility benefits important? 

According to Dr. Beth Zhou of CCRM Fertility in Houston, TX, "While improved insurance coverage does not completely close the gap in access to care, it helps make IVF, the most effective treatment for infertility, more attainable for some. The good news is more and more employers are understanding the importance their employees are placing on family building as a consideration when they are applying for jobs. When I'm talking to a patient who really wants to or needs to pursue IVF but cannot afford it, I always encourage them to contact their human resources department to ask if they'd ever consider expanding their benefits to cover fertility treatments. When enough employees vocalize their concerns or even leave for other jobs that do offer fertility benefits, these employers realize the need to consider adding fertility coverage in hopes of staying competitive and drawing the best job applicants."

While switching jobs with improved benefits may ultimately be the best option in your IVF journey, we also recommend doing your due diligence before jumping ship.

Check your insurance plan  and your state’s laws  first

Even if you don’t work for a large company with fantastic benefits, those living in one of the states with mandated fertility benefits may be entitled to limited coverage. Although this coverage will vary by state, employer, and plan, and you may have to pay out of pocket for some of the cost, it’s worth checking out what your plan offers before flooding LinkedIn with your résumé.

Research employers that offer IVF coverage

Until IVF benefits become more accessible on individual and smaller-company plans, however, the best course of action for those who need fertility insurance is to consider employment at a large corporation — specifically, with a company that offers comprehensive fertility benefits. To help get you started, Rescripted has compiled a list of 15 companies that provide this indispensable coverage.

But it’s not as simple as just checking out the job postings at American Express; as with the state laws, each company’s fertility benefits package is widely different from the next, so you must do your research first. 

For example, American Express offers reimbursement of up to $30,000 in IVF treatments, whereas Google offers up to $75,000 in IVF benefits. Yet the global management consulting firm Bain and Company provides unlimited IVF coverage!

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The rising trend of part-time work for fertility benefits 

What if your skillset doesn’t match any of the companies boasting generous fertility benefits? Since it’s not always feasible to change jobs, more and more aspiring parents have sought out part-time work at companies that do provide IVF coverage – like Starbucks. For employees who work 20 hours a week or more, Starbucks will cover $25,000 for IVF and $10,000 for IVF-related medications.

This option has gained so much traction that the keyword phrase “IVF and Starbucks” now exists on TikTok. One search pulls up countless videos of people talking at length about how they had no choice but to take a second, part-time job (that’s in addition to their full-time jobs) at the coffee giant to cover their IVF bills. Even social-media-friendly reproductive endocrinologists, like Dr. Lora Shahine, have weighed in on this trend.

But there’s still a catch for those who want Starbucks’ top-tier fertility benefits: In some cases, employees aren’t taking home a paycheck, opting instead to contribute their entire pay toward the high insurance premiums that will allow them to undergo IVF. For people whose dream is to start (or continue) a family, this decision is a worthwhile sacrifice.

With only certain states offering mandated coverage, and only some large corporations providing comprehensive benefits, paying for IVF remains a complex puzzle for so many aspiring parents. We recognize how stressful this is for people who live in non-mandated-coverage states or who don’t work for the Walt Disney Company or Walmart. 

The truth is, there still aren’t many easy solutions, so we recommend arming yourself with as much information as possible. Research your state’s fertility coverage mandates, research your insurance plan, and, if you’re open to a change in employment, look into the corporations that do offer IVF benefits. Whether you’re currently open to work or simply want to keep your options open on your fertility journey, visit #FertilityCovered here. And remember, the right option for you is out there, it may just take a little bit of digging.

Sarene Leeds holds an M.S. in Professional Writing from NYU, and is a seasoned journalist, having written and reported on subjects ranging from TV and pop culture to health, wellness, and parenting over the course of her career. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal, Vulture, SheKnows, and numerous other outlets. A staunch mental health advocate, Sarene also hosts the podcast “Emotional Abuse Is Real.” Visit her website here, or follow her on Instagram or Twitter.