human resources

Facebook and Apple pay for female employees to freeze their eggs

Women's Agenda /

Facebook and Apple are two companies famous for being innovative and it seems they’re both at the cutting edge of a new employment trend. Facebook currently help some female employees cover the cost of freezing their eggs – which can costs between $10,000 and $15,000 in Australia – and Apple will begin doing this early next year. The idea is that by allowing their female employees to freeze their eggs they can delay motherhood until later in their career.

Is this really the solution to the nebulous question of women having it all?

It’s not a perfect science but from a biological perspective freezing eggs is an increasingly viable proposition. Because of advancements in technology frozen eggs are generally considered to behave like fresh eggs; if you were to freeze your eggs at 25, when you come to use them they will still behave like a 25 year old’s eggs. But there are no guarantees. Mashable reports that the results of an analysis published in August 2013 in the journal Fertility and Sterility indicate that the chances of a live birth after egg freezing for women 30 and older are less than 25%.

But success rates aside is delaying parenthood the answer to keeping women attached to the workforce? Seniority in employment can certainly help with parenthood; having a higher salary will ease the cost of childcare and being in a position to dictate how and when you work, won’t hurt.

Ultimately however, regardless of a person’s age or position, the ability to successfully combine work and family depends on a number of other factors. Having a supportive employer and partner are paramount. 

If Apple and Facebook covering the cost of freezing eggs is an indicator of their support for their employees combining work with family this policy augers well. But if it’s an indicator that they would prefer to control how and when their employees have their families I’m less sure.

What are your thoughts? Is this brilliance or madness from Apple and Facebook?

This story originally appeared on Women’s Agenda.

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