Starbucks is now helping female employees pay for in vitro fertilization

Starbucks is one of those companies that knows how to treat its employees right. For instance, in 2014 the company announced that it would pay the full tuition for employees to get a degree from Arizona State University’s online program. And now, Starbucks is making it easier for women struggling with infertility by offering full coverage for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

This is a huge deal, as 1 in 8 couples have trouble conceiving. Although in vitro fertilization can often help those couples conceive, it can be quite costly. The national average cost for a fresh IVF cycle (meaning newly retrieved embryos are transferred, as opposed to previously frozen embryos) is $12,000, plus another $3,000 to $5,000 for the medications required for the procedure. That’s a big financial burden for most people, and Starbucks is trying to alleviate make it more affordable.

Cappuccino Culture Threatens Traditional British Breakfast
Getty Images | Daniel Berehulak

As part of their medical benefits, Starbucks is covering $20,000 for IVF and related medication for all eligible employees, even part-time baristas who make an average of $10,000 annually.

“It’s just been part of who we are, that if you work here and you put in the time, you’re going to get the benefits that make you a full partner,” Starbucks executive Lucy Helm told CBS News. “It is really important to everyone and I think it’s something that we’re all very, very proud of. People fall in love with working for our company once they become a partner here.”

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Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Unlike Starbucks, many companies don’t offer coverage when it comes to fertility treatments. According to a survey by FertilityIQ, only about a quarter of women who have undergone fertility treatments have had them fully paid for through their jobs. Tech companies are more likely to provide coverage than most other companies, according to the survey, but corporations such as Bank of America, Chanel, and Conair offer benefits as well.

This move by Starbucks is great for women, and so far already, the policy has made some baristas mothers. Shannon Iagulli told CBS News that having trouble getting pregnant was “the darkest time of [her] life.” She then got a job at Starbucks, and  eventually gave birth to two children, thanks to IVF procedures funded by the company.

“They will know that that’s how they came about that if it wasn’t for mommy going to make coffee that they wouldn’t be here,” Iagulli said.

And Iagulli isn’t alone. There’s a Facebook group called “Starbucks IVF Mommas” where hopeful moms who are baristas at the coffee shop provide support for one another. It currently has almost 500 members.

Starbucks IVF Mommas/Facebook

Employer-sponsored health insurance plans that include fertility coverage may not be commonplace now, but hopefully other companies will follow Starbucks’ lead and provide this often life-changing benefit to their employees.