One of the biggest draws to working and tech startups is their lucrative benefits, from fully stocked snack rooms to flexible schedules. Many of the tech giants offer even better perks, such as on-site chefs, on-site doggy daycare, and generous stock options (which means that many early employees are doing quite well financially). Now, Facebook and Apple are offering employees a perk that might trump them all: both companies will pay female employees to freeze their eggs.
(Photo Credit: Raymond Bryson/Flickr)
According to NBC:
“Apple covers costs under its fertility benefit, and Facebook under its surrogacy benefit, both up to $20,000. Women at Facebook began taking advantage of the coverage this year.” NBC reports that “When successful, egg freezing allows women to put their fertility on ice, so to speak, until they’re ready to become parents. But the procedure comes at a steep price: Costs typically add up to at least $10,000 for every round, plus $500 or more annually for storage.”
Facebook and Apple are likely offering this perk as a way to recruit more women in tech — and keep them away from other firms. As Brigitte Adams, an egg-freezing advocate and founder of the patient forum Eggsurance.com said, “Having a high-powered career and children is still a very hard thing to do. By offering this benefit, companies are investing in women, and supporting them in carving out the lives they want.”
But is this what women really want? Not every female employee is going to want children, of course, so this perk may be useless to some employees who are decidedly against having children. However, female employees at Apple and Facebook who are in their 20s and 30s and have the desire to start a family now have pressure to freeze their eggs and keep building their careers until it’s biologically too late to have children naturally. Essentially, Facebook and Apple are encouraging women — with a free benefit — to delay motherhood so they can work more hours, and more years.
As women are being told by likes of Sheryl Sandberg to “lean in” and put their careers first (ahead of other obligations such as friends — and especially family) and by other tech CEOs to sit down and be quiet, it’s possible that many women at Apple and Facebook will take advantage of this perk (and soon). It admittedly sends a bad message throughout the tech industry — one where, in this industry, women can either build a booming career OR have children. Unless that changes, and women continue choose to work at these specific startups and firms, it might not be such a bad idea to take these employers up on their offer so, at the very least, someday they can have both.
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