While having gourmet chefs and craft beer on tap sounds nice, two of the biggest firms in Silicon Valley–Apple and Facebook–are offering a perk that could have an impact. Both companies will soon offer up to $20,000 in coverage for egg-freezing costs, which in theory allows women the option to focus on their careers during their childbearing years and put parenthood on hold until they are ready. NBC News reports that Facebook employees have been taking advantage of the new policy since April, while Apple will begin in January.
Egg freezing is expensive. Doctors recommend at least two rounds of the procedure, with each round costing $10,000, to save at least 20 eggs. Storage costs $500 a year.
Some have dubbed the practice, which started in 1986, a “reproductive insurance policy.” But in this case, the move is considered a small way to bring more gender parity to the male-dominated tech world, as the recent spate of internal diversity reports suggest. The choice is there.
Which isn’t to say the procedure doesn’t have its risks:
While techniques and success rates are improving, there’s no guarantee the procedure will lead to a baby down the road. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine doesn’t keep comprehensive stats on babies born from frozen eggs–in fact, the group cautions against relying on egg freezing to extend fertility–though experts say the earlier a woman freezes her eggs, the greater her chances of success.
There’s also this: