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The news that Facebook and Google are now offering egg freezing as a perk to entice female tech employees came as quite a shock. 

It’s seen as a way to keep employees working through their child-bearing years in order to shrink the gender pay gap. Women can then delay having children until their 40s. 

Facebook offers $20,000 towards egg freezing (according to their media agency, partly in response to requests from employees) along with a comprehensive package of other benefits including four months of paid maternity leave – much more than the usual six-week allowance in the US. 

Two things are important to note here: the package also includes sperm freezing for male employees; and in the US health insurance is a much more common part of a salary package than it is in Australia, and the insurance conditions vary from insufficient to thoroughly comprehensive. 

Facebook’s policy has been in place since Jan. 1; Apple’s begins on Jan. 1 next year.

Days after this made widespread news it was revealed that Australia’s largest IVF company, Virtus Health, is following their lead in subsiding egg freezing.

Perhaps this makes slightly more sense, along the lines of a private school teacher getting a discount on their child’s education. “We thought, if it’s good enough for Apple and Facebook, it’s good enough for us,” Virtus’s Dr Molloy told The Sydney Morning Herald.

What are the moral implications of a corporation seen to be interfering with women’s fertility decisions? 

Firstly, is it any of their business when a woman wants to have babies, and what right do they have to put indirect pressure on women to delay?

Secondly, delaying childbirth until an older age can be dangerous, risky to both the mother and child, and might result in no babies at all – a result that can be devastating. 

Thirdly, it’s making much of the difference between male and female employees – admittedly, trying to close the gender pay gap is a worthy goal, but it’s seen by many as a clumsy attempt to redress the imbalance rather than making it easier for working parents (both women and men) to run their careers and family lives at the same time.

And if a female employee takes up this kind offer? They would undertake an egg harvesting procedure that IVF clients undergo. Hormones are injected daily that ramp up the reproductive system until an abundance of eggs are formed, at which point they’re removed surgically, sucked out via a needle through the vaginal wall.

Overarching all of this is the success rate of this procedure; Monash IVF quotes statistics that suggest it might take 10-15 frozen eggs to get one successful pregnancy. That’s a pretty low chance that after working 60-hour weeks for years, you’d finally get the family you always wanted. 

What do you think about this issue? Could you be tempted? And what do you think is the right stance for these businesses to take? We’d love you to join the discussion below. 

  • Oh dear, some of the things they come up with.

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  • Mind boggling – Although it is a personal choice – I feel that having Children at 40 is pushing the boundaries – as you get older you are more set in your ways, not to mention the effects on your body and its ability to cope.

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  • Wow, that just blows my mind. My one question is…should women be having babies in their fourties? A personal decision ,absolutely, however the body is definitely getting towards the end of child bearing times. Hmmmm definitely pro’s and con’s

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  • This is quite a mindblower I think ! I HONESTLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO THINK ABOUT THIS!

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  • i think that this is only a reflection of the times actually! women want it all and now they can somewhat have it all. money, house, car, career, lifestyle and then when they are 40ish and wanting to settle down, they still want to have kids. it is no surprise that the company’s have picked up on the “independent women” trend and are now trying to make money out of the situation.

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  • I see this as a big brother intrusion, what right is it of your employer to know if you are planning a family, and to have a level of control over when you do, also what happens when something goes wrong, employer gets taken over, goes broke, your relationship breaks down, I can see so many potential problems.

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  • It’s great that businesses are thinking of their employees.. But I personally wouldn’t have a kid when I’m 40. I think our bodies stop releasing the eggs for a reason.

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  • I personally wouldn’t have kids at that age but each to their own, you would be nearly on your death bed by the time the child reach adult hood.

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  • Your body still has to be strong enough to accept the eggs and there be a successful result.

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  • You can understand the point of the companies and in their defence, offering it to both men & women is fantastic shows the gender gap is slowly closing, maybe

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  • Is this considered as feminism?

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  • The concept of Egg freezing is not new in this day and age. For companies to consider this says a huge lot about their requirement to keep their staff, male or female. If you are a career minded woman than this is an excellent idea. Kind of wish it had been around when I was in the Navy. I had my first Child when I was in my thirties after leaving the armed forces. I have had three children since retiring. All three of my children have some sort of Intellectual, learning issues. There is evidence to suggest that the radiation from Some Naval Ships can affect women and men in their Genetic DNA. The navy denies this, but as a precaution I would suggest any female entering the Navy to harvest eggs before spending long hours at sea with the radiation of the Radars affecting them.
    This is only one situation where this type of Egg Storing would be recommended for Female staff. Am sure their are many others:)

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  • I think this is so wrong. It’s not about women putting off children to help with the gender pay gap. It’s about corporations not being brave enough to take a stance on gender equality. It would have been someone without children who thought this was a good idea. I’m 30 with two kids under 2.5 years. And not having anymore. Does this mean I would get a job quicker. Highly, doubt it! Besides, children add value to your life, not take it away. Shame on you FB and Google, you’re not new age corporations, your traditionalist thinking your new age. Man up. No Woman UP! We take so much more than any man both physically and mentally. Rant over.

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  • this could be ok if this is really what you had planned for your life otherwise I think it could be making them feel pressured to do this

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  • very interesting article! Thank you

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