Apple and Facebook now offer all female employees the chance to have their eggs frozen...
Choosing if and when to put your career on hold to have children is often one of the most difficult decisions a woman can face in her working life.
But have Apple and Facebook found the solution? The technology mega-corps are now offering to pay for female employees to have their eggs frozen, as part of their standard corporate medical plans.
Are the companies acting through fear of losing top talent to maternity leave in the notoriously male-dominated tech industry? Or are they simply offering women control of their own life plans? We think, refreshingly, it’s the latter.
Giving women the freedom to start a family if and when they choose is potentially a huge gift. With the child-bearing window often falling just as a woman’s career is coming into its own, many women may now choose to wait until they have achieved personal goals, have more financial stability, or just more time in the day before starting a family.
The cost of egg extraction and storage is also so eye-wateringly expensive that most women couldn’t even consider it as an option without a healthcare plan like this.
Facebook have just started offering staff up to $20,000 to have their eggs frozen, an offer that Apple will match from January. An single extraction session of around 10 eggs costs between $10,000 and $15,000, before an extra $1,000 each year after to store the harvested eggs. Pricey, right?
The companies’ schemes aren’t all about women, either. A ‘host of other fertility services’ are available to both male and female employees, including help with adoption services.
And for those who are having babies whilst working for Facebook, there’s maternity and paternity leave (standard), but also on-site childcare and a gift of $4,000 to all new parents. If only we all worked for Sheryl Sandberg!
So what do you think of Facebook’s freezing programme? Would you put your eggs on ice to get to the top?
The reaction from our readers has, so far, been mostly positive, with people praising the choice that the scheme offers to women. On the other side of the argument, many questions have been raised – will an initiative like this put pressure on women to delay motherhood? Does it send a message that women are more useful to a workplace if they don’t have children?
‘Not only are people never away from work anymore, but now your children should be born to suit the employer,’ says Janice Ince on our Facebook.
‘Who would have the legal rights over the eggs?’ asks @laurasarahdoll on Twitter.
‘It is possible for women to have children and remain ambitious and dedicated to a career they worked so hard to earn before having children,’ points out Kate Holmes.
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‘It’s a great idea,’ says Bella Springfield on Facebook. ‘I’m 29 and I feel like I’m not even close to being
financially stable enough to have kids, nor have the time to devote to
finding someone to have kids with. With the down turn in the economy
being right when I graduated, it has been taking a while to
really get my career going. I wish I didnt have the added pressure of my
‘What if the frozen eggs don’t make it through the thawing process… Then what do you do?’ asks Jodi Clark.
Tell us what you think on Twitter @MarieClaireUKand we’ll add your opinions to the piece.