Apple and Facebook are reportedly offering to pay up to $20,000 for female employees to freeze their reproductive eggs, in a bid to hold on to their best workers.
“This latest offering from Apple and Facebook is a devil’s deal in the guise of a gender equity perk,” offered the New York Post. “Dear Facebook, please don’t tell women to lean in to egg-freezing,” said the Huffington Post. “Don’t be fooled by Apple and Facebook. Egg-freezing isn’t cool,” the Daily Beast cautioned.
The Financial Times asked “Will an Apple-frozen egg still be compatible with its mother after a couple of years of new product releases?” and the Huffington Post warned, about “paying women not to have a family”.
“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cryopreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments,” Apple said in a statement.
Facebook said it offers four months of paid leave for both new mothers and fathers.
“We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families,” the tech giant said.
What is this obsession with wanting to control absolutely every aspect of life, and especially the creation of a new life?
What is wrong with a woman conceiving naturally, because she and her partner want a baby at the right time for them and combine it with a career?
It is possible to combine career and parenthood. There is so much discussion around how difficult this is today, even though there are many women in the past who have done this and just got on with it! They were so busy there was no opportunity to spend time discussing the issue! Of course their life was very full to overflowing sometimes, and there was inevitable tiredness, but is that not a normal expectation of parenting anyway? – and add to that an outside workload, and it is understandable that some aspects of life need to be re-arranged, put on hold, or just removed – maybe temporarily.
Work-life balance is another frequently referred to ‘issue’, mainly it seems for women. It doesn’t matter at what age a woman has a baby, she and her partner will need to make adjustments in their work and life and be flexible enough to change and adjust their work-life balance as their baby grows and develops, which may or may not include working arrangements.
So if Apple and Facebook are so committed to empowering women, then maybe they could consider other ways: e.g. offering more flexible working conditions, in-house childcare, appropriate support for breastfeeding mother’s, setting up home offices and embrace the fact that they have parents on staff, whose primary role in life is growing and educating the next generation whilst also focussing on their career. It is not about controlling a woman’s biological clock. That same woman will have the same challenges whenever she has a baby.
Freezing Eggs does come with risks.
The usual risks of using fertility drugs apply to the fertility treatment involved. Egg freezing is still a relatively new technique and not all eggs will survive the freezing and thawing process or become fertilised.
It is important to consider the risks of the egg freezing procedure and the likelihood of eggs surviving the process when making this decision to store eggs for future use. Every clinic should give information on the risks involved.
The creation of a new little being is a big decision for most. Frozen eggs is a wonderful option for maybe a young woman with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy or other rare conditions.
So to Apple and Facebook I say, nobody is indispensable. If one of your key employees takes maternity leave, there will be someone, equally skilled, to take her role, temporarily. It is not the end of the world and your business will not fall over or result in bankruptcy. Trust that this may even be beneficial for your business and please stay away from interfering with nature and stick to what you do best!