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Silicon Valley giants pay female employees to freeze their eggs

Silicon Valley giants pay female employees to freeze their eggs
Photo courtesy of nydailynews.com

If you were a talented young woman coveted by the tech industry for her vision and skills, would you be more inclined to work for a company that was willing to go the extra mile? In this case, they company would pay to freeze your eggs so you could focus on climbing the corporate ladder and delay motherhood until you are further along in your career. Apple and Facebook think so.

Facebook made this service available last January. Apple will begin exactly one year later, or January 2015. The idea behind "the perk" is that having a high-powered career along with children is difficult.

So, while a young woman devotes her key childbearing years to her job, she can accomplish her goals without sacrificing fertility when she is finally ready to parent.

In what is becoming a perks arms race among top tech companies, this value-add seems to be the most unusual to date.

I have heard of some Silicon Valley companies of offering "baby cash" (in the neighborhood of $4,000) to employees who are new parents with the thought that it will help with diapers, formula, strollers, car seats, etc ... But egg freezing?

It is one thing to look out for an employee's well-being and I will always applaud that - but is there more to this? Is the message that corporate work is more important than motherhood?

The cost of egg freezing

Since we're talking about it, I should tell you that freezing eggs typically adds up to at least $10,000 for each round of treatment, plus another $500 or more annually for storage. Doctors often recommend that women freeze at least 20 eggs - which can require two rounds of the procedure.

So are these companies really willing to pay this much?

Well, Facebook which actually first introduced the benefit back in January, covers all eligible fertility treatments up to a maximum of $20,000. I am going to assume it has a pretty good deal in place with its chosen healthcare providers.

What's more, fertility doctors have reported a sizable increase in egg freezing demand since the American Society of Reproductive Medicine lifted the experimental label from the procedure back in 2012.

Medically speaking, the procedure is recommended for women in their 20s and 30s as younger eggs have a better chance of withstanding the freezing process and increase the chances of creating a baby.

Both Apple and Facebook agree that the perk is a step to try and increase diversity from the male-dominated demographic of Silicon Valley tech workers.

Just last month, Apple release statistics showing that 70 percent of its 98,000 worldwide employees were male, while Facebook's percentage was stunningly similar.

Maybe it's a perk, maybe it's a ploy to control the timing of employee parenthood - but either way, it is a clear indication that the time we are living in today, is far removed from the one we were raised in.

Who knows, maybe there will soon be a market for "Frozen Apple Baby" onesies? Or maybe some will find it helpful for moms to know what baby names were popular when their eggs were frozen?

 

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Source: NBC News
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