Goldman Sachs is offering prospective parents on its staff up to $20,000 (£15,500) to cover the costs of extracting eggs or purchasing donated eggs as part of its latest efforts to boost equality and close the gender pay gap at the Wall Street investment bank.
It is the first time that Goldman has provided funds for both processes, which can help increase the chances of parenthood for same sex couples, women who want to delay having children or others who struggle to conceive.
A memo sent to staff by senior figures including the chief executive, David Solomon, said the new benefits were “designed to enable everyone in our workforce to better manage the commitment to their careers while starting, growing and supporting a family.”
The bank will offer employees up to $10,000 to cover the cost of egg retrieval, which involves a course of injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs that can then be extracted. In the UK, the medication and extraction procedure costs about £5,000 and is usually the biggest expense for prospective parents going though the procedure.
Goldman staff will be expected to pay for any long-term freezing and storage themselves, which usually costs £125-£250 a year.
The bank’s workforce will be offered up to $20,000 to purchase eggs from donors, though the stipend is more likely to be of greater benefit to staff in countries such as the US where donors are paid more for their contributions. In Britain, it is illegal to pay for egg donation but donors can be compensated by up to £750.
Goldman Sachs said its new “pathways to parenthood” programme would boost the $5,000 payment it previously offered to employees paying for a surrogate mother to carry their child to $20,000. Staff will also be offered $10,000 to cover the costs of adoption, up from $5,000.
The benefits, which were introduced on 1 November, come nearly a year after Goldman Sachs added sex-reassignment surgery and IVF fertility treatments to its employee benefit plan. The bank also launched a programme to ship mothers’ breast milk home to their children if they had to work overseas and it offers London staff emergency nannies to look after unwell children and care for elderly relatives.
A number of firms have been ramping up benefits for parents in a move that campaigners have said could help close the UK’s gender pay gap. Investment group Standard Life Aberdeen most recently revealed one of the UK’s most generous parental leave policies, offering nine months of full pay for all new parents.
The mean, or average, gender pay gap at Goldman Sachs International stands at 50.6%, based on hourly pay in the 12 months to April 2018, while the median pay gap, which takes the mid-point when all wage rates are lined up from the biggest to smallest, is 35.5%.