...Unfortunately, I also found that many employers, including mine, offer no benefit beyond “the diagnosis of infertility”—that is, they do not cover the most effective treatment of the disorder: assisted reproduction. However, I was quite heartened to find that a meaningful portion of companies across the chemical industry, such as Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Chevron, and Merck, reportedly offer some infertility coverage. Within big pharma, almost 70% of the 13 companies for which I could find detailed information offered some form of a reproductive health benefit. Generally, the benefit was limited to a lifetime maximum benefit of $10,000 to $25,000. It is reasonable to expect employers to limit their exposure to financial risk, but even a limited benefit is a huge opportunity to a devastated employee.
After having spent my twenties in subsistence living in graduate school earning my Ph.D., I find myself in my thirties trying to start saving for retirement and a home and worrying about an old car. Infertility is by its very nature a disease that strikes in the early part of one’s career. When I’m asking my employer to offer a comprehensive reproductive health benefit, I’m not asking for the moon. I’m asking for a chance.
Name withheld upon requestDoes anyone think that the named companies are going to hiring more scientists or fewer scientists in the next ten years?
It's a sad confluence of events for Ph.D. scientists of a certain generation. Graduate school in the sciences (and the inevitable postdoc) entails a delaying of marriage, children, "a real job" with an income approaching the median household income in the US, home purchases and all the other life decisions that make up an middle-to-upper-middle income life in the US. Those delays extend well into one's early-to-mid thirties. To leave academia and enter into a world where fewer and fewer companies are large enough and willing to offer health benefits like these to their employees is a tragedy indeed.