The lavish perks offered by Silicon Valley’s ruling enterprises are no secret: onsite gyms, napping pods, on-the-house cocktails and concierge service. Turns out, recruiting and retaining the best tech talent takes oodles of money and hotel-like services.
But, in recent years, there’s been a new benefit added to the line-up, this one targeted exclusively to female employees: egg freezing. Google, Apple, Intel and more are among the big names that are offering to cover the cost of freezing your eggs, which can run in the range of $10,000 per surgical procedure. Facebook was the first to offer this service to its female team members (and the spouses of employees) in 2014.
Reactions to egg freezing run the gamut, from deep appreciation to total offense.
On one hand, it’s tough to argue with tech enterprises offering such a service. After all, it’s mainstream knowledge now that the tech industry is majorly struggling with gender diversity in its workforce—they need to attract and maintain more women. 56% of women drop out of their careers right at the mid-point, not only costing the companies that employ them hefty sums of money, but also often leaving these women struggling down the road when they attempt to re-enter the workforce.
Supporters of egg freezing say that it’s not just about diversity, or maintaining great talent. For some women, the egg freezing benefit is attractive for a more old-fashioned notion: they just haven’t met “the one” yet—so why not set some eggs aside and give yourself the choice to have a child much later in life? A study conducted in 2013 found that 80% of women freeze their eggs for this reason.
On the other hand, many are skeptical about offering women such a service: does it tell them to push their goals of having a family to the back burner and opt instead to stay completely dedicated to the company? As a 2014 New Yorker article states, “Might Apple and Facebook’s offers of egg freezing be, in fact, the kind of employee benefit whose principal beneficiary is the company? What if, rather than being a means of empowerment—whereby a young woman is no longer subject to anything so quaintly analog as the ticking of a biological clock—freezing one’s eggs is understood as a surrender to the larger, more invisibly pervasive force of corporate control?”
And several critics have pointed out the irony that these tech companies are offering egg freezing benefits, yet they lack foundational support for families. Apple, for example, recently unveiled its brand spanking new “Apple Park”, a $5 billion new office endeavor. There was no childcare built into the new campus—but you can still freeze your eggs should you choose. And childcare is something important to all parents, not just women.
So, what do you think of egg freezing? Have you done it and why? What do you think about the benefit in general? Tell us in the comments.