Thursday October 16, 2014

Facebook & Apple add egg freezing to employee benefit plans, spark controversy

Listen 22:00

While some tout they can set-the-clock back on fertility with frozen eggs, others worry that technology could leave women in the workforce frozen in time, locked into a corporate mindset that says there's no room for progeny and promotion. Enter two U.S. tech giants ... Apple and Facebook and their offers to cover the costs of egg freezing and storage. A perk? Or pressure?

"If you come to get pregnant at age 43 and you have eggs from when you're 35, it's like we've set the clock back 7 or 8 years."

Fertility Doctor Jaime Knopman


Egg freezing costs in the U.S. typically add up to at least $10,000 for every round, plus $500 or more annually for storage. (Reuters/Pichi Chuang)

As a means of attracting and keeping female talent, egg freezing may not sound like the most obvious benefit. But Apple and Facebook have really caught the imagination of many women with their offer to pay as much as $20,000 to those who elect to postpone motherhood by having their eggs extracted and saved.

Many applaud Apple and Facebook for the move, but others worry offering employees a chance to freeze eggs, may pressure women to put off motherhood... others worry that this is a band-aid solution to a work culture that doesn't respect the need for a life outside the office.

We convened three women to discuss the controversy around this:

How do you feel about companies offering to pay for female employees to freeze their eggs? Would you like your company to do that?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins, Kristin Nelson and Ines Colabrese.