Any working woman will tell you that climbing the corporate ladder while finding time for motherhood is quite the challenge.
Tech companies in Silicon Valley, however, are trying to bring women’s troubles at ease by offering to cover egg-freezing in hopes of also attracting more top female talent.
Facebook and Apple are among the first to announce that they will shell out as much as $20,000 for women to put motherhood on hold by preserving their eggs so that they’re able to dedicate their childrearing years to the company without sacrificing their chances of becoming a mother.
Facebook has already started covering the egg-freezing procedure--which can cost $10,000 or more plus annual storage fees--and Apple's program is set to go in effect January, reports to NBC News.
Apple's plan is covered as part of its fertility benefits while Facebook's will fall under its surrogacy benefit, according to the Daily Mail.
Though the two firms are hoping the incentive will also cultivate work-life balance, there’s no guarantee that egg-freezing will lead to conception. There are, however, great success rates.
The Daily Mail reports:
Anyone considering egg freezing needs careful counseling about their age and the odds of success if they want to later thaw those eggs for use in in vitro fertilization, the guidelines stress.
Sperm routinely are frozen. So are the extra embryos of couples undergoing infertility treatment, in case they want to use them for later pregnancy attempts.
But eggs proved more delicate and difficult to freeze than sperm or embryos. The problem: Eggs contain lots of water, and early methods of freezing and thawing allowed ice crystals to form that could destroy or damage them. In the past decade, scientists created a flash-freezing method called vitrification that appears to overcome that challenge.
For a number of years, egg-freezing has been offered experimentally for young women or girls who are diagnosed with cancer or other serious illnesses that would destroy their ovaries.
Thankfully for women who may be interested in taking up Facebook and Apple’s offer, some women in the U.S. are having children older. About 1 in 5 U.S. women now have their first child after age 35, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Still, after the age of 35 the amount of eggs and fertility drops rapidly. According to the Daily Mail, there are only about 1,500 known live births resulting from frozen eggs worldwide, compared with about 1 million IVF births using fresh eggs.
But it begs to the question: could employment incentives like egg-freezing coverage lead to more women in business?
What do you think Centric readers? Sound off.
(Photo: Lex Van Lieshout/EPA/Landov)