It’s been all over the news lately: the controversial announcement that Apple and Facebook will now freeze eggs for female employees to keep attracting women to join and stay with these companies. The offer is a part of an initiative that includes longer parental leave, education reimbursements for all classes taken by employees, and subsidized student loan refinancing.
Facebook offers up to $20,000 for egg freezing for female employees. The company will also provide adoption and surrogacy assistance and “a host of other fertility services for male and female employees,” the company said. These services can be very expensive, especially if women don’t have access to a good healthcare program or insurance. Just one round of egg freezing can typically cost bout $10,000 with $500 or more a year in storage fees. Apple will begin offering the coverage for this in January.
Many of the women who work at these companies have a high-powered career and combining that will children is still a very hard thing to do. When you freeze your eggs, you are allowing a woman to basically put fertility on hold until they are ready to become parents. Most of the Silicon Valley firms are male-dominated and competing to attract top female talent, and this perk gives Apple and Facebook a leg up.
Egg freezing has even been described as a key to “leveling the playing field” between men and women because women have more freedom to make life choices when they don’t have the pressure of a ticking biological clock. This could help to diversify the workforce, especially for tech companies; Apple’s workforce is 70 percent male, and 69 percent of Facebook employees are male.
What do you think about these new “perks” for female employees working at Apple and Facebook? Do you think this costly incentive will help decrease the gender gap in tech fields?