Men Having Babies Launches Initiative to Encourage Inclusive Employer Surrogacy Benefits

New York, NY, May 14, 2024 --( Men Having Babies (MHB) is working to increase awareness and transparency about the availability of workplace family building benefits, to encourage more employers to offer such benefits to gay couples and singles, and expand them to cover surrogacy-specific costs as well. A social media campaign, employer database and an advocacy toolkit are part of this new effort, underwritten by EMD Serono and MHB's other Impact Partners.

Since its inception in 2012, MHB’s mission has included "promoting the affordability of surrogacy-related services through advocacy, financial assistance, and the encouragement of transparency." In recent years, MHB has expanded the scope of its advocacy to directly tackle the systemic financial, legal and societal barriers our members face. Much of this involves advocacy to remove discriminatory insurance and taxation laws, including:

- Initiating and collaborating with RESOLVE and NCLR (National Center for Lesbian Rights) to create model legislation for IVF mandates that are inclusive of “all those who are in need of reproductive assistance;"
- Working with other nonprofits to pass legislation based on the model act in Illinois, Maine, New Jersey and Washington, DC — with similar legislation efforts ongoing in 9 more states;
- Encouraging ASRM to formally amend their definition of “infertility” in line with the above model legislation;
- Introducing a bill to allow tax deductions for surrogacy expenses in collaboration with several nonprofit partners.

These medical guidelines and legislative changes are significant steps in the move towards making IVF and surrogacy more accessible for queer men, but another significant area of support can come from discretionary initiatives of private companies. In fact, a growing number of large employers, including many tech, financial and pharmaceutical multinationals and even workers' unions and local governments, are electing to offer family building benefits for recruitment, retention, and effectiveness at work. These packages typically range from $10,000 to $80,000 and may cover adoption, fertility treatments (e.g. IVF) and/or surrogacy.

MHB’s new Employer Surrogacy Benefits Initiative plans to tap into this corporate shift and contribute to its expansion and better utilization. The MHB initiative therefore has three main goals:

1. Showcasing and commending companies that are offering generous and inclusive fertility benefits that are applicable for surrogacy;
2. Allowing prospective parents to find employees who offer inclusive benefits in a searchable database;
3. Incentivizing more companies to offer inclusive family forming benefits.

For each of the featured companies, MHB is building a card that includes searchable fields on the type of benefits offered, the amounts that can be used per journey or over a lifetime, and even how they score based on the Corporate Equality Index that is published annually by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Additional details include the geographical scope of the provided benefits (some multinational corporations offer different benefits in the USA and overseas), and the fertility management company the employer is using to manage these benefits. Men looking to grow their family can then search this database to find details on their company or look to possibly change jobs to a new company with more financial support.

Many company cards also include personal testimonies from members who have successfully received benefits from them to grow their families. As MHB is adding more companies to the database, news stories, email blasts and social media promotions are being used to feature best practices and highlight inspiring personal stories.

The third component in MHB's Inclusive Employer Surrogacy Benefits initiative is the development of an Advocacy Toolkit to help men who work at companies who do not currently offer inclusive benefits. RESOLVE offers a great toolkit for guiding people towards getting fertility insurance coverage at work, but MHB's members are facing obstacles that go beyond those of "medically" infertile people. The MHB toolkit will include resources and evidence-based rationales for offering benefits that go beyond basic infertility coverage in the following ways.

- Eligibility is defined in an inclusive manner to “all those who are in need of reproductive assistance,” according to the 2023 definition of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
- Benefits extend also to non-medical expenses associated with the surrogacy journey.
- Benefits are offered to all employees, including those who are located outside the USA.

Men Having Babies hopes the Database, Social Media Campaign and Advocacy Toolkit will contribute to a broader corporate and cultural change, and to a reality where more companies will be encouraged to increase or start to offer similar benefits.

MHB’s strong, motivated community is key to the success of this campaign. Through their support and information, MHB will be able to provide the first crowd-sourced, verified database of employer surrogacy benefits that is continuously updated and searchable. Through the transparency and advocacy of the campaign and employee toolkit, MHB hopes that more men will be able to realize their dreams of becoming parents.

MHB would love to feature additional testimonials of employees at the companies mentioned above who have received fertility and/or surrogacy benefits. Please reach out if you would be willing to share your story.
Men Having Babies
Yan Dekel
1 775-505-1692