Bioethics Blogs

Intel Boosts Infertility Benefits or Incentives?

Miriam Zoll raises concerns about Intel’s employees’ fertility benefits.

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At first blush, last week’s announcement that Intel will be joining the ranks of Apple and Facebook in January 2016 by boosting its employees’ fertility benefits seemed like good news. The computer chip giant raised the lifetime cap of $10,000 for fertility services and $5,000 for medications to $40,000 and $20,000 respectively. To its credit, it also raised adoption benefits from $5,000 to $15,000.

Ogden Reid, Vice President and director of compensation and benefits at Intel was quoted by media as saying that the company considered data indicating that the average treatment cycle costs up to $20,000 and is 20 percent to 30 percent likely to succeed. “We’re hopeful that we can increase the odds by going from paying for half of one cycle to paying for two full cycles,” he said.

Intel’s position is a hopeful one, looking at the per cycle outcome glass as being 20 to 30 percent full, rather than 70 to 80 percent empty.

Intel has also dismissed the need for a medically indicated diagnosis of infertility to access fertility services. By doing so it is enabling healthy older couples facing natural fertility decline, as well as same-sex couples, to access what the industry calls “cutting-edge technologies” – in-vitro fertilization (IVF), intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and embryo and egg freezing, among other techniques.

Intel Quark: a line of 32-bit x86 SoCs by Intel, designed for small size and low power electronics, such as wearable devices.

But there are serious concerns to be raised about the efficacy and safety of many of these fertility services.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.