GAY global news

These LGBTQ couples are building a family with Progyny’s fertility benefits

Written by

At fertility benefits platform Progyny, supporting employees on their path to parenthood looks different for everyone, and that’s a good thing. 

For LGBTQ employees in particular, fertility care and family building can come with a variety of emotional, physical and financial obstacles, and couples are often left to figure it out on their own. Having the right support in place can help employees build the families of their dreams — and foster employer-loyalty, too. 

“Both of us being women was a huge barrier starting out,” says Stephanie Kalili, a site leader at an Amazon facility in Arizona. “Having Progyny, which is so inclusive and straightforward, made it really easy for us.”

Read more:  Giving birth, then back to work: Supporting postpartum mental health

Kalili, who has worked for Amazon for four years, says she and her wife Jasmine knew they wanted to be moms, but they weren’t sure if their ideal scenario — reciprocal IVF, where both maternal partners can participate biologically in the process — was going to be possible due to the expense. Costs for this type of IVF are higher than normal, because both partners go on medication to prepare their bodies. 

Yet Kalili and her spouse weren’t alone in their concerns: In a recent survey, Progyny found that over half of LGBTQ respondents were putting off growing a family due to the expense, and 83% said they would change jobs for one that offered family-building benefits. Data from shows the average cost of a single round of IVF can be over $23,000. 

But when they decided to look into Progyny, their concerns were met with support. All members are paired with a personalized care specialist (PCA) — a registered nurse or other fertility specialist who supports members throughout the time they are using the platform — and theirs helped them understand what their coverage included and how to proceed. Kalili gave birth to their first son in November 2022.

Stephanie (right) and Jasmine Kalili and their son, now 19 months old


“IVF is a hard process, but we are so excited to have these options,” Kalili says. Once the couple met their deductible, the majority of their remaining costs were covered. “We stimulated my wife’s eggs, and then implanted an embryo into me, so I carried and gave birth to our son.”

Read more:  The parental benefits at Crunchbase make it easy to put family first

Mike DelVlahos and his husband Alec, who are based in Manhattan, began the process to fatherhood with Progyny in August 2022, when Del Vlahos had access to the benefit through his former employer. Being connected to a PCA made a huge difference in their understanding and comfort level with the many steps involved. 

“It’s a little overwhelming with all of the different pieces and complicated parts of the process,” says DelVlahos, who works in media. “Having someone who I could go to with any questions, who always knew our case and how to handle it, meant that it was something we didn’t have to stress about. And then financially, I can’t imagine how we would have gotten through that first stage without the support of Progyny.”

Mike (right) and Alex DelVlahos


The couple knew they wanted to participate in IVF with a surrogate, and after choosing an egg donor through a separate agency, they created four healthy embryos. They are now working to find a good surrogate match, and hope to welcome their first baby by November 2025. Without their coverage, the process would have cost the couple well over $100,000. 

“Some level of coverage for surrogacy support, especially when it comes to LGBTQ families, has been a major factor in my career decision to this point,” DelVlahos says. “We have a lot of gay friends that were very envious of our Progeny coverage and that we were not saving money into our 40s or later in order to afford to have children. It’s influencing our friends to look for employers that give them that sort of coverage so they can have the flexibility to build the family they want.”

Read more:  At JPMorgan, tuition-free education benefits helped this working mom advance her career

Employers who offer inclusive family-building benefits are doing themselves a favor when it comes to attracting and retaining diverse talent, says Cynthia McEwen, the head of DEI at Progyny. In addition to traditional IVF procedures, Progyny’s survey found that almost half of respondents were looking into adoption and another third were thinking about surrogacy. The benefits matter not only to the population who use them, but to the overall image of the company as well.  

“If you’ve done the research on what you offer and you realize that you have gaps there, that’s an automatic wake-up call,” says McEwen. “Hopefully you have a way to hear your employees’ voices, whether that’s an ERG, a town hall, a fireside chat, or a box in your cafeteria that asks for suggestions — you should have absolutely a way of hearing feedback from your employees about what they are looking for in their benefit design.”

For families like the DelVlahos’ and the Khalil’s, these benefits are invaluable. Khalil and her wife have recently repeated the reciprocal IVF process, and their next child, a daughter, is due in August.

“I would heavily encourage every employer to take a look at their workforce and ask, ‘What are their top priorities?'” Kalili says. “When you ask people why they come to work, most people’s top priority is to provide for their family, however that looks.”


Leave a Comment