Many women desire motherhood but face fertility challenges. Employers want to attract and retain female workers. There’s a free market solution to this problem: baby benefits.

As employers struggle to find qualified candidates for the 9.6 million open positions in the United States, benefits to attract childbearing workers are spreading beyond Silicon Valley to employers across the heartland. Market needs are driving these solutions, and we’re here for the ride.

The prime working-age years for adults, ages 25-54, coincide with the prime years that women have children. However, the later that a woman delays childbearing, often in pursuit of education or career advancement, the greater the difficulty she faces in conceiving and carrying a baby to term.

Infertility is common. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 1 in 8 women of childbearing age struggle with infertility. One in 10 women reports that she or a partner used medical help to become pregnant.

Advances in medicine have made it easier to conceive, but the cost of infertility treatments and drugs can be steep for women and couples. Few public and private insurances cover fertility services. Most people who access such treatments are primarily paying out of pocket. In vitro fertilization, a common fertility procedure involving implanting a fertilized egg into the uterus, typically ranges anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000, but it can be upward of $30,000, not including hormones or additional necessary procedures. For women who undergo multiple IVF cycles, the costs are multiplied.

Unsurprisingly, women are searching for employers that pay for fertility treatments. No longer are benefits such as egg freezing and IVF coveted golden eggs among deep-pocket tech giants such as Meta and Google. Walmart started offering coverage last fall, joining Target, Bumble, Starbucks, Comcast, DoorDash, and Tractor Supply Company.

When 37-year-old software program manager Courtney Lorenz, for example, needed expensive fertility treatments, she took on a second $16-an-hour job. Lorenz worked for six months at a national livestock and agriculture chain store, one of many surprising companies now offering fertility benefits.

In a 2021 survey conducted by benefits manager Mercer for the National Infertility Association, nearly 2 in 3 (61%) large employers had health plans that covered fertility treatment, and just under half (47%) covered IVF. Overall, about 1 in 4 U.S. employers offered IVF coverage in 2020, up from just 13% in 2016, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management. Coverage of egg harvesting and storage has increased fivefold over the same time period.

Fertility isn’t the only benefit for those seeking to have children. This spring, PublicSq’s CEO announced a $5,000 baby bonus for any of its employees having or adopting a child. There are no restrictions on the after-tax benefit, and it’s per child.

An economy that generates flexible jobs provides women the options of when, where, and how to work. That could include pairing traditional 9-to-5 employment with part-time or contract opportunities that offer added benefits, including fertility and “baby” benefits such as these, as well as additional income.

This flexibility is especially important as left-leaning states, liberals in Congress, and the Biden administration work to force everyone into the same outdated models of work, regardless of a person’s situation. Regulations on independent contracting and franchises will tie companies’ hands from engineering the coveted benefits such as baby bonuses and fertility treatments that employees actually want.

But this Labor Day week, employees who struggle with infertility can celebrate the fact that more and more employers are willing to help.