For more than six years, Pauline Matheri and her husband have been trying to have a baby.
“Every night since he was 4 years old, my son has said a prayer asking for a baby sister,” Pauline says. “I see how caring and compassionate he is with younger children and hope that one day soon his and our prayers will be answered.”
Pauline is not alone on this challenging journey, as research shows secondary infertility affects about 6% of all couples trying to conceive. When Pauline joined HCA Healthcare as a clinical research coordinator in 2021, she learned that fertility benefits weren’t included in the health insurance package, as they had been with her previous employer. She and her husband began exploring other options.
“I quickly became an advocate for including this benefit at HCA Healthcare,” Pauline says. “I felt the need to speak out for myself and others, as I feel passionately that this benefit is important for an organization that prioritizes inclusion as part of its overall culture.”
Erin Hawks (pictured above with her family), project manager at Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, has also faced struggles with infertility. She is no stranger to the fertility treatment process, having gone through it for her first son. Now, as she and her husband are trying to conceive again, she’s well aware of the emotional toll the process can take.
“It can be stressful and isolating,” Erin says. “Just knowing you have support from your employer and others at work can help ease some of that burden.”
Erin first found support through the Women’s Colleague Network, which she chairs for Sarah Cannon.
“Someone asked in a chat how many others had gone through fertility issues, and the number of messages from people who shared their experiences was overwhelming,” Erin says. “I don’t think anyone realizes how many people are going through this and how much just being able to talk about it and know there’s support can help.”
Thanks in part to the willingness of Pauline, Erin and other colleagues to share their stories and raise awareness of this important benefit, HCA Healthcare partnered with Progyny to provide inclusive fertility and family-building benefits. It’s open to every full- and part-time colleague and their covered spouse/domestic partner enrolled in the Essential, Well Care, Out-of-Area or Prime medical plans. Colleagues pay a percentage of the cost of services depending on the benefits plan.
“We heard the concerns from colleagues and are pleased to now offer fertility and family benefits through this network that works with the nation’s leading fertility specialists,” says Brian McKinney, AVP, Employee Benefits.
Progyny bundles all the individual services, tests and treatments into a Smart Cycle, which ensures participants won’t run out of coverage mid-treatment. “This removes barriers to care, so the patient and the doctor can create the best customized treatment plan based on clinical criteria, not cost,” Brian says.
“I’m just ecstatic over the addition of this benefit,” Erin says. “To know you don’t have to spend a lot of money out of pocket to go through fertility treatments can really change your outlook and how you make decisions.”