- Walmart employees across the US will soon have access to dozens of fertility clinics.
- The benefits include financial support of up to $20,000 lifetime for eligible surrogacy and adoption costs.
- The retailer is working with Kindbody, a network of clinics offering fertility and family-building services.
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Walmart employees will now have access to dozens of fertility clinics across the US through a partnership between the big-box retailer and Kindbody, a clinic network founded in 2018 and based in New York City that provides fertility and family-building services for more than 100 employers.
Starting Nov. 1, Walmart employees will be able to use Kindbody's services, including financial support of up to $20,000 lifetime for eligible surrogacy and adoption costs, fertility assessments and education, fertility preservation, genetic testing, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and physical, mental, and emotional support from preconception through postpartum.
"Providing access to high-quality health care is very important to us, and we've heard from our associates that improved access to fertility, surrogacy and adoption support is a priority for them and their families," said Kim Lupo, a senior vice president at Walmart, in a statement.
Walmart employs around 1.7 million associates in the US. It currently offers enhanced maternity and parental leave for qualified full-time hourly and salaried associates that allows birth moms to receive up to 16 weeks of paid time off. New parents, including adoptive and foster parents, also receive six weeks paid parental leave to bond with a new child.
Fertility benefits are becoming a weapon in the war for talent, Fortune recently reported. In a Fortune poll, 45% of workers said fertility benefits are an important component when considering a new job.
A fertility survey conducted by Carrot, a global fertility healthcare company, found that millennial and Generation Z employees value fertility benefits: 77% of respondents said that they would stay at a company if it offered fertility benefits, and a large majority of them said they would even consider changing jobs for better benefits.
"It's now becoming a trend where employers are now saying having major medical, vision, and dental isn't enough and we need to add fertility benefits," Dr. Fahimeh Sasan, a founding physician at Kindbody and board-certified OB-GYN, told Insider.
Walmart associates will have access to Kindbody's US facilities, including a new clinic and IVF lab in Rogers, Arkansas, where the first Walmart store is located and near the company's headquarters. The facility is expected to open later this year, according to a Walmart press release.
"The reason we opened in Rogers was because of this relationship with Walmart," Sasan said. "We can and do expedite opening clinics in certain locations for a specific employer."
The average amount of U.S. fertility coverage is around $36,000 for one's lifetime, according to FertilityIQ, a national fertility website. Kindbody can save employers 25% to 40% by contracting directly with them, a spokesperson told Insider.
Egg freezing is among the services some companies, including Apple and Facebook, now cover. FertilityIQ says a single cycle can cost as much as $20,000, not including storage fees.
Asset management firm Mercer says 36% of companies with 500 or more employees and 47 percent of employers with at least 5,000 employees offer coverage for IVF, one of the most widely used fertility services.
Mercer also has found that DEI values are a key motivation in expanding fertility benefits. Companies have expanded access to IVF because of the "need to stay competitive to recruit and retain top talent, greater emphasis on inclusivity, the desire to be recognized as a family-friendly employer, and adhering to stricter quality guidelines," Mercer found.
"Walmart is a perfect example where they have associates in every small town to big cities across the country," Sasan said. "Benefits that could inclusively serve the entire population are so important."