Startup Land is sold as a paradise. On the corporate campuses of companies like Google, Facebook and Apple, programmers and developers have access to bike repair shops, vending machines with free gadgets, ping pong tables, beer on tap — they can even stay up all night and
work until their fingers bleed have as much ice cream as they want.
The newest addition to that list of perks is egg freezing. Representatives from Apple and Facebook told NBC News that as part of their extensive employee benefits packages, they’ll now be paying for women to freeze their eggs, a process that can cost tens of thousands of dollars over time.
Apple and Facebook both have family and career planning benefits programs, covering adoption, fertility treatments and money for new parents. These programs are a considerate move in an industry that is highly alienating to women, who are still a minority in the tech world.
The darker side of paying for frozen eggs, however, is the implication that the new “perk” is really just an investment to keep female employees from having to take time off. Like putting nap rooms on the corporate campus so that workers don’t technically have to go home to sleep, paying for women to freeze their eggs can come off as an incentive to postpone parenthood indefinitely so that those women can be more at the disposal of their company.
“Would potential female associates welcome this option knowing that they can work hard early on and still reproduce, if they so desire, later on?” Harvard Law School’s Glenn Cohen wrote in a blog post. “Or would they take this as a signal that the firm thinks that working there as an associate and pregnancy are incompatible?”
Still, nobody is saying that these women have to freeze their eggs — what they’re offering is a choice, and supporting a woman’s choices over her own healthcare and family planning is never a bad thing. After all, some corporations are still fighting tooth and nail to prevent coverage for something as simple as birth control.