Should employers pay for female staff to freeze their eggs?

By Efrosini Costa

Should employers pay for female staff to freeze their eggs?
Two companies are reportedly offering to pay up to $20,000 for their female staff to have their eggs frozen.

A controversial move, the offer is said to be a way for employers to hold on to their best workers by footing the bill for the procedure and storage costs.

Egg freezing is becoming an increasingly popular way to delay child bearing. but it’s not cheap. it costs roughly $10,000 initially then $500 each month therafter for storage.

Two Silicon Valley firms, Apple and Facebook, introduced the new benefits along with extended parental leave of up to four months for both new mothers and fathers.

“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cryopreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments,” Apple said in a statement.

“We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families,” the tech giant said.

But is the move motivated by genuine concern for employees or simply a way to deter them from having children?

There’s no denying the raging war for talent that is ensuing amongst Silicon Valley companies.

According to reports, Apple will even go as far as to reimburse expenses associated with legal adoption of a child or children for their employees.

Adoption is sometimes the only option left for the third of US women aged 35-39 who have fertility problems. That number increases to 64 per cent for women aged 40-44.

US government data shoes 20 per cent of all women in the country wait until 35 to have their first child.

Another reason companies would want to offer such benefits to it’s female employees is diversity in the workforce.

Tech firms are facing renewed pressure to increase diversity amongst it;s male-dominated industry by employing more women.

Microsoft reported earlier this year that 29 per cent of it’s staff were women, at Google the figure for female staff is 30 per cent, at Facebook it’s 31 per cent – but only 15 per cent are in technical jobs.

While such ‘family’ benefits are expected to help such companies attract event more female employees, experts warn that freezing is a relatively new procedure that does not guarantee a successful pregnancy.

The move has also faced widespread criticism because of what it’s says about our changing values as a society. When our jobs, careers and industry become more important than children, family and community we have to ask at what cost to our society?



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