Facebook and Apple are now offering their employees a bonus, but not one in the form of cash. The two Silicon Valley-based companies are offering to pay for their female employees to freeze their eggs.
Silicon Valley firms are doing what they can to attract female employees to the workforce. However, Facebook and Apple have taken it to the next level with an enticing benefit for professional women. The idea is to provide a work environment that allows women to pursue their professional careers, while allowing them to 'put a hold on' having a family until their later years.
It's no secret that infertility in women increases with age, along with the likelihood of getting pregnant. By mid-30's, a woman's chance of getting pregnant on a monthly basis drops to only 15%. By age 43, those numbers drop all the way down to 5%. The most opportune time for women to get pregnant is in their early 20's. By the time women hit 30 years old, the probability begins to noticeably decline.
One solution to the problem is for women to freeze their eggs. However, it isn't cheap. The cost per session is $10,000, with a $500 annual cost to keep them frozen until you're ready to use them. For that reason, Facebook and Apple have stepped in and offered to cover the cost for non-medical reasons. That means women who work at Facebook or Apple who would like to freeze their eggs and wait to have children until later can do so, at no personal cost.
A HUGE RISK
Adding women to the workforce and giving them the choice to have kids later is an exceptional idea. Nonetheless, there are great risks for women who willingly choose to take this path. The reality is that for women in their early 30's who choose to freeze their eggs, they only have a 40-50% chance of achieving a successful pregnancy when they decide to use those eggs. The numbers continue to fall for women as they age.
One company, EggBanxx, has begun hosting "egg-freezing parties" where experts can educate guests on egg freezing. "Maybe you haven't found Mr. Right just yet or perhaps you would like more time to focus on your education or career," the company website says. "Whatever the reasons, freezing your eggs now will allow you to tackle conception later." Then again, women should think long and hard before making this choice. The chance of getting pregnant from freezing eggs is equivalent to that of a coin flip.