Deb Anderson-Bialis, the co-founder of FertilityIQ, was distressed to find that she was effectively going into menopause -- at the age of 26. At the time, she was working for a tech firm, and realized that if she wanted to have a child naturally, she'd need to move quickly.

"It kicked off a much more urgent need for fertility expertise," says Anderson-Bialis. "We struggled with going through multiple doctors, we moved out of state, and we made a lot of errors that would have been preventable."

Anderson-Bialis and her husband, Jake, were ultimately able to conceive naturally, but the experience led them to build FertilityIQ, a San Francisco, Calif.-based startup that aggregates information about doctors, clinics, and the cost of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. Since 2015, the company -- which has yet to bring in revenue -- has grown to serve one in three fertility patients nationwide, or a user-base that's "comfortably in the thousands."

On Tuesday, FertilityIQ released its inaugural ranking of businesses that offer to fund some fraction of fertility treatments as an employee benefit. At present, the cost of procedures hovers around $23,050, according to the report. The co-founders sifted through information given to them by patients on the platform, and contacted individual companies for confirmation of their policies.

FertilityIQ ranked these companies across seven industries, based on several factors, like lifetime treatment maximum (the average maximum was $20,000, but some companies will fund IVF treatments--no matter how expensive they are). The report also looks at the requirements for pre-authorization. For example, if the companies define "infertility" as the employee having tried and failed to conceive a child through heterosexual intercourse, that effectively excludes LGBT and single mothers from the plan. Other factors taken into account include clinic restrictions and exclusions (some plans may refuse to cover add-on treatments). Although tech behemoths Google and Facebook both offer fertility benefits, for instance, they do require that patients receive treatment from a specific clinic the company chooses, rather than from their preferred doctor.

It's worth pointing out that shouldering these treatments is expensive. A company with 70,000 employees could incur up to $30 million of additional annual expenses, the report found, and it could be extremely cost prohibitive for a startup. What's more, if employees are successful in becoming pregnant, they're liable to take off more maternity and paternity leave.

Even so, the co-founders of FertilityIQ insist that companies offering these benefits gain a significant competitive advantage when it comes to hiring and retaining talent. Consider that roughly one in eight Americans are affected by infertility -- more than those affected by diabetes, breast cancer, or Alzheimer's combined. And according to the study, 72 percent of those who became pregnant reported: "working for my employer helped me have my child."

Of note, a number of smaller startups, including Spotify and Wayfair, were as competitive in their offering as tech giants like Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google, the report found. In fact, Spotify -- which does not have a cap on the cost of treatment it promises to cover -- ranks No. 1 in the technology industry at large.

Here's a look a companies with the fertility benefits in 2016:

Technology

1. Spotify

2. Intel

3. Facebook

4. Wayfair

5. Apple

Finance and Investment Banking

1. Bank of America

2. Deutsche Bank

3. Barclay's

4. Fidelity

4. MetLife (tie)

Media

1. Discovery

2. Time Warner

2. Fox

3. Cablevision

3. Bloomberg (tie)

Fashion

1. Chanel

2. Kate Spade

3. Hermes

3. Ralph Lauren (tie)

4. Michael Kors

Retail

1. Conair

2. Mars

3. PepsiCo

3. Mastercard (tie)

4. Nike

Consulting

1. Boston Consulting Group

2. Deloitte

3. McKinsey

4. Bain

5. Ernst & Young

Pharmaceuticals

1. Johnson & Johnson

2. Daiichi Sankyo

3. Pfizer

3. Becton Dickinson (tie)

4. Merck

4. GlaxoSmithKline (tie)

Published on: Nov 15, 2016