Last week, Apple and Facebook announced new plans to help female employees freeze their eggs, according to Forbes.
The goal of this new plan, which Facebook adopted in January of this year, and Apple will start in the beginning of next year, is to give women more freedom to focus on their careers without also sacrificing the prospect of one day having a family, according to Bloomberg. Both companies will cover up to $20,000 in costs for the procedure, which typically runs somewhere between $9,000 and $13,000.
“Egg freezing gives you the gift of time to start a family,” Sarah Elizabeth Richards, an author who froze her eggs between 2006 and 2008, told Bloomberg.
This “gift of time” allows women to delay starting a family until they feel as though they are financially ready to support one. And that’s helpful because, according to a study from Harvard, women don’t make as much money as men in the first 10 years after college graduation.
Those first 10 years are a crucial time when many women debate leaving their jobs to raise a family, especially if they don’t see opportunities to progress in their company.
Staying in the workforce, though, will give women more time to create and build wealth, which has the potential to lead to a more stable family life. According to Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight, women who have more money and education “rarely have children outside of marriage and are relatively unlikely to get divorced.”
But critics, and some women, say paying for egg freezing is a way for companies to sidestep problems associated with paternity leave and promote longer worker hours for women.
“Egg freezing seems to put a Band-Aid on the problem of how difficult it is for women to have a career and raise a family concurrently,” said Seema Mohapatra, a health care law and bioethics expert, according to The Upshot.
Mohapatra said there’s a paradox with this, too. Women may dedicate much of their time to the company and end up sacrificing a family for the sake of honoring the company that gave them the potential to have a family, she said.
That’s because the lines between work and home life are blurred. It’ll push women to work longer hours and, in a sense, owe their life to the company they work for, according to The Telegraph’s Emma Barnett.
“These businesses may provide beautiful environments and enviable perks for their staff -- but they have also massively blurred the lines between life and work for them, too,” Barnett wrote, especially because fertilizing eggs can be a gamble.
According to the Center for Fertility Preservation, 56 percent of the eggs that are fertilized lead to pregnancies.
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