Making Fertility Treatments Accessible for Employees
By all accounts, Sarah* lives a full life. She enjoys traveling and seeing plays. She’s climbed mountains. But recently she started to feel like something was missing.
“I don’t think I’m totally living a full life right now – at least not for me,” the Medtronic employee of 11 years said. “I want children to share my passions and experiences with.”
Last fall, Medtronic enhanced its fertility benefit through Kindbody, as part of the U.S. Medtronic medical plans. Kindbody, whose mission is to make fertility and family-building care more affordable and accessible for all, has 28 clinics across the country – including Minneapolis – and has plans to grow to 37 by the end of the year.
Now Sarah can receive three fertility cycles, including medication, in addition to nutrition and mental health support and 24/7 virtual care. She even has a dedicated Care Navigation Team to guide her through her journey.
It all started with a desire to support employees in whatever way they start or grow their family. This led to not only the enhanced fertility benefits, but an increased adoption, surrogacy, and donor benefit and additional parental leave benefits.
The program covers a number of benefits for those seeking fertility care, including testing and treatment or third-party reproduction. Also included are gynecology, LGBTQ+ care, and financial assistance for adoption, donor, and surrogacy.
“I want to see every single employee who wants to, to be able to grow their family,” said Denise King, VP of global benefits and payroll. “We need to think about the Mission and how we can support our employees in manners similar to our patients.”
Looking for a sign
After ending a long-term relationship with a partner who didn’t want children, Sarah found herself single and decided she didn’t want to wait to start a family.
“My mom passed away in my early 20s. I've always felt very connected to her and asked her to give me a sign,” she said.
After visiting her OB/GYN, she went into the office and saw an announcement about Kindbody on an electronic sign.
It couldn’t have been more clear, and it eased her worries about how she could afford fertility care.
Since beginning her journey with Kindbody, she has found more support than she imagined.
“There is surrogacy, adoption, LGBTQ+ support. It's just so incredible and forward thinking to help in this way,” she said. “I’ve never had this kind of support at previous companies.”
Sarah’s story is a familiar one to one Dr. Fahimeh Sasan, Kindbody’s Chief Innovation Officer.
And it’s one reason she joined Kindbody in 2018 as its founding physician.
Kindbody is on a mission to transform fertility and family-building care, making it more accessible, intuitive, and empowering.
Often, someone seeking to build a family needs to wait for a problem to arise before doing testing.
“It would be like waiting for someone to have a heart attack before you guide them to lifestyle modifications or screenings,” Sasan said. “That's obviously not the approach to diabetes and heart disease. We're always talking about prevention.”
The Kindbody benefit is meant to be a preventative, proactive, and kinder approach to family-building. They provide a tailored, positive experience because they recognize that the support needed to build a family varies, King said.
“The beauty of Kindbody is that they're there from the beginning throughout the entire journey,” she said. “And that's important.”
The Kindbody benefit is just one way Medtronic is supporting employees as they grow and care for their families. The company recently announced enhancements to its U.S. parental leave benefits which include up to 24 weeks of paid leave for birthing parents and up to 12 weeks for non-birthing parents.
“The demands on today’s employees to manage work and family are more intense than ever before, especially for parents,” said King. “Employees are asking for more flexibility and Medtronic is responding as an employer of choice. It’s the right thing to do for our employees—and the business.”
*Name changed to respect employee privacy.