Walmart adds fertility benefits, bringing the expensive treatment to more U.S. workers

Exterior of a Walmart store
Walmart’s announcement that it will broaden fertility offerings follows its decision in August to expand its abortion coverage in light of the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Walmart Inc. is teaming up with a fertility start-up to offer benefits under its insurance plan that will help its workers expand their families.

The nation’s largest retailer and private employer said Tuesday it’s partnering with New York-based Kindbody to offer benefits such as in vitro fertilization as well as fertility testing regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.

Walmart’s employees will get access to more than 30 fertility clinics and IVF labs across the U.S. Kindbody’s clinics will be available to help eligible workers access Walmart’s surrogacy and adoption benefits, as well.


The expanded offerings, which start Nov. 1, build on Walmart’s so-called Center of Excellence model, which provides benefits and coverage for certain heart, spine and joint surgeries and cancer treatments, in partnership with healthcare providers and facilities including the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

“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, Walmart’s senior vice president of global total rewards.

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Walmart joins Amazon and other major employers in helping employees with adoptions or covering fertility treatments. More companies are adding these benefits in part to attract and retain workers in a tight labor market.

But given its clout, the expanded benefits from Walmart should help further democratize fertility treatments, which can cost thousands of dollars.

It “signals that fertility benefits have joined medical, dental and vision as a standard workplace benefit for leading employers,” said Gina Bartasi, founder and chairwoman of Kindbody.

The announcement of expanded fertility offerings comes after Walmart in August announced it was expanding its abortion coverage after the Supreme Court ruling that scrapped a nationwide right to abortion.


Competition has grown especially tough for hourly or lower-wage workers in retail, hospitality or healthcare sectors, according to researchers with the benefits consultant Mercer. In those areas, a small increase in pay or benefits can prompt people to leave for another job.

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“These benefits are a way to sort of add value without necessarily increasing pay by a significant amount,” said Julie Campbell, a principal consultant in Mercer’s health and benefits practice.

Adding benefits that help with family planning also can make a company more attractive to LGBTQ employees.

“The path to parenthood can be complex and expensive, and the journey is not the same for all families,” said Lisa Woods, Walmart’s vice president of benefits.

Mercer’s annual employer survey has tracked a big jump in companies offering a core fertility benefit, help with IVF, which involves creating embryos by joining eggs and sperm in a lab dish.

The consultant found that 36% of companies with 500 or more employees covered IVF treatments in 2021. That’s up from 27% in 2020.


For years before that, the percentage of companies offering that benefit usually hovered between 20% and 22%, said Beth Umland, director of health and benefits research at Mercer.

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Relatively few employees may end up using a company’s help with adoption or fertility treatment costs, but those benefits mean a lot to the people who do use them, Umland noted.

“That makes you an employer of choice if you are providing that benefit,” she said.

Walmart workers, their spouse or partner, and any adult dependent children who are enrolled in a Walmart-sponsored medical plan will each receive up to $20,000 in medical benefits toward fertility treatments in a lifetime.

In the U.S., one round of IVF can cost about $23,000 on average, according to FertilityIQ, which provides research on fertility treatments, doctors and clinics.

Walmart Inc. employs about 1.6 million people in the U.S. The company, based in Bentonville, Ark., could not immediately provide a number for those eligible for the new fertility benefit.

Walmart workers — salaried, full-time hourly and full-time managers in stores’ eyeglass departments — also will receive up to $20,000 lifetime reimbursement toward eligible expenses for surrogacy and adoption services.


About 38% of companies with 500 or more employees offer or plan to provide financial assistance for adoptions next year, according to Mercer research.