(Financial Times) Egg freezing is a perk too far in Silicon Valley’s war
October 15, 2014 6:56 pm
Apple and Facebook are intruding too far on women’s personal choices
Companies are always looking at ways to attract and retain talented employees. Nowhere more so than in Silicon Valley, where America’s leading technology businesses live or die by the brain cell.
Now, two of the district’s most influential residents, Apple and Facebook, have taken this so-called “perk arms race” to a new pitch. As part of a drive among traditionally male-dominated Valley firms to attract more female talent, both are offering benefits to women who devote more of their childbearing years to building their careers.
Both companies already offer financial benefits for fertility treatment and adoption, and Facebook famously gives new parents “baby cash” – $4,000 that they can spend in whatever way they like. But Facebook has gone further. The company recently began paying for female employees to freeze their eggs – a procedure that allows women to defer childbirth until later in life. Apple now plans to follow suit and will offer the perk to US-based staff from next January.
It could be argued that this is simply another option to help women juggle their personal and working lives. Egg freezing is an expensive and relatively novel treatment. Costs typically amount to $10,000 at the minimum for each round of egg-harvesting, plus up to $500 a year for storage. Both companies have undertaken to cover costs up to a cap of $20,000.