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Facebook Businesses Apple Technology

Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs 253

Dave Knott writes: While freezing eggs has become an increasingly popular practice for career-oriented women, the procedure comes at a steep price: Costs typically add up to at least $10,000 for every round, plus $500 or more annually for storage. Now two Silicon Valley giants are offering women a game-changing perk: Apple and Facebook will pay for employees to freeze their eggs. They appear to be the first major employers to offer this coverage for non-medical reasons, both offering to cover costs up to $20,000. Tech firms are hardly alone in offering generous benefits to attract and keep talent, but they appear to be leading the way with egg freezing.

Advocates say they've heard murmurs of large law, consulting, and finance firms helping to cover the costs, although no one is broadcasting this support. Companies may be concerned about the public relations implications of the benefit – in the most cynical light, egg-freezing coverage could be viewed as a ploy to entice women to sell their souls to their employer, sacrificing childbearing years for the promise of promotion. Will the perk pay off for companies? The benefit will likely encourage women to stay with their employer longer, cutting down on recruiting and hiring costs. And practically speaking, when women freeze their eggs early, firms may save on pregnancy costs in the long run. A woman could avoid paying to use a donor egg down the road, for example, or undergoing more intensive fertility treatments when she's ready to have a baby. But the emotional and cultural payoff may be more valuable, helping women be more productive human beings.
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Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

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  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @11:47AM (#48150455) Journal
    A few of you had questions about the 'work/life balance' at this company. I take it that those have been settled?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @11:52AM (#48150535) Homepage

      They're making it pretty damn clear that life is completely insignificant to work.

      • I believe there *are* companies out there where you can make it the main focus of your life, working for them, and actually have some justification for doing so.

        In the current tech sector, there are really only a few that come to mind. I'd say Google would be one. Apple would be another. Facebook tries to be yet another, but I have mixed feelings on whether or not they've really "arrived" in that way.

        I'm talking about companies that have earned a lot of respect for continuously doing things that make people

    • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kaladorn ( 514293 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:26PM (#48151017) Homepage Journal
      There's no need for balance! There's only work. And then dying. Now shut up and like it, dispensable interchangeable resource creature!<br><br>Seriously, our biologically best childbearing years are likely in the 18-25 range. Maturity wise, we're probably better parents often in the 28-35 range. Later than that, you're going to have some issues. Keeping up with agile, active kids at 35+ is more draining than it was at 18, 25 or even 30. The odds of complications are also higher. So are the odds of small families (the wear and tear of a pregnancy at older ages is higher and people want to have a second or third child less often as a result). That means kids get denied some of the social context they might have if people were having slightly bigger families (and starting younger). As an older parent, you also tend to be involved in fewer physical activities with the child. (I'm not saying in any event that some parents aren't able to keep up or aren't fully involved in sports and other activities, but on average, fewer older parents will be).<br><br>The companies are mercenary. They'll coddle you as long as they think you are useful and replacing you would be more expensive. They'll try to convince you to work hard, long hours and remunerate you not with what any objective standard thinks you deserve, but the least they can get away with (why you generally get more from moving companies). And they'll dispense with you rapidly if you show any signs of cracks from illness, stress or if your skillset simply no longer fits their needs or if their business case changes. Loyalty is a conveniently fostered illusion (a convenient fiction for HR types).<br><br>Also, your odds of getting sick or dying are higher as you age. This means the chance the kids lose their parents at vulnerable times in their lives goes up. If you are younger, this is less likely and your kids stand a better chance of getting to maturity and hopefully independence and emotional readiness before having to deal with the loss of a parent.<br><br>Our society is kind of backwards. I hate to say it, but those in Utah had some parts of it right. I had a friend from Corel go down as part of the team picking up the Word Perfect code base. He noted that down there, their universities and colleges were filled with late twenties women. They had elected to have kids in the 18-25 zone and had them up to school age by their late twenties so they could pursue a higher education and a career once the kids were in school. This model has all sorts of benefits biologically and statistically. (Again, not saying individual cases, and even a fair number of them overall, of parents of older ages don't work out just fine... mine did, albeit with many health scares and a lot less involvement in physical activities or sports).
      • by Livius ( 318358 )

        The goal presumably is to discourage women from making the 'wrong' career decision by creating the illusion that they can just postpone child-bearing. Some will, and some will fall into the trap and never escape their career.

    • Rated funny? I would have given it +1 Sad if that were an option.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @11:49AM (#48150481)

    Someone let the IT guy into the HR office again.

    • Re:Enterprise backup (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @11:51AM (#48150515)

      helping women be more productive human beings.

      Did I just read that?

      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        you can equal pay if you freeze the eggs and don;t take maternity leave?!!!

        • by zlives ( 2009072 )

          clearly I don't make the money I do for my typing skills... wish I was a programmer or some such so I could enable the editing feature on this site.

        • It's a TRAP! (Score:2, Insightful)

          So, if you leave the company or are terminated, will they continue to hold these eggs for you until you want them at no charge? Will they pay for the implanting and provide maternity benefits even though you're no longer an employee - which they would have had to do if you had chosen to get preggy while you were working for them?

          "Oh, sorry, you're over 40, but we terminated you because "your skills are now outdated." Thanks for saving us a lot more than if you had decided to have a child earlier on, su

          • by zlives ( 2009072 )

            wonder if they can just freeze me for the next 40 years... let my 401 mature and unthaw me.
            hmmm they could just offer this AS the retirement plan. we invest your last paycheck, freeze you until its worth something. Yes your whole family is dead by the time we thaw you, but at least your eggs/future children will be thawed with you :)

      • by just_another_sean ( 919159 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @11:55AM (#48150579) Journal

        As if ensuring the survival of the human race isn't "productive". And, personally, I can''t think of anything more important that my wife does than be the awesome mother she is to our children. Now, while she's young and has the energy to go outside and play with them...

        • And, personally, I can''t think of anything more important that my wife does than be the awesome mother she is to our children

          That's fine, but I don't want to hear a lot of whining from your household about women getting paid $0.70 for every dollar men make, or whatever. Being likely to bail out of the workforce for years at a time has a downside, and that is it.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        We at acmecorp treat all of our humani-bots equally (shitty).

    • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:48PM (#48151317) Homepage Journal
      I hope these women read the entire EULA agreement!
  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @11:51AM (#48150517)

    "helping women be more productive human beings." Because working at Apple is more productive than raising a family?

  • That men will also be seeing a 20k bump in available work/life benefits. You know, because there is still no indication that the 'Wage Gap' exists in skilled IT positions.
    • Re:So I take it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@worl d 3 . net> on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:07PM (#48150765) Homepage

      So, if they install a wheelchair ramp for a disabled employee at your company, do you demand they spend the same amount on amenities for everyone else? If they employ an on-site councillor to help employees deal with stress but you never use the service, do you demand they employ someone to mow your lawn instead?

      • So, if they install a wheelchair ramp for a disabled employee at your company, do you demand they spend the same amount on amenities for everyone else? If they employ an on-site councillor to help employees deal with stress but you never use the service, do you demand they employ someone to mow your lawn instead?

        No, GP poster insists that they break his kneecaps and install random flashing lights in his cube so that he can take advantage of the same benefits.

      • Re:So I take it (Score:5, Insightful)

        by OhPlz ( 168413 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:57PM (#48151425)

        Pregnancy is not a disability.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          Neither is illness, mental or otherwise. The point is that different people have different needs, and feeling that you are somehow disadvantaged because you have fewer needs and thus get less support is just trying really hard to be a victim.

          • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

            How do you know that other parties have fewer needs? I don't like seeing carve-outs that are specific to one group over another. Insurance was meant to be a risk pool. Instead, it has turned into a discount card, or even a free pass. Hospitals are expensive, and having a child is super expensive, I get that. But is that reason enough to pull from a risk pool that also goes to pay for things like cancer, multiple sclerosis, life threatening injury, and so on? People generally don't know that they're go

        • According to the state of California, pregnancy is in fact a disability.

          http://www.edd.ca.gov/disabili... [ca.gov]
      • I typically prefer walking up ramps to the god-awful low-rise steps they are using now. So at least I can use the 'benefit' they are legally required to provide from an ADA perspective. Whereas if I chose not to take advantage of a provision I am physically able to use, it would be my own fault.
      • by neoform ( 551705 )

        Are you equating being female with having a disability?

        Disabled people need the extra help to make up their literal disability. Women are not considered disabled, and thus should not need an extra helping hand...

      • by Cramer ( 69040 )

        Am I prohibited from walking up that ramp, or pushing the automatic door button, or using the bigger "handicapped" bathroom stall? Nope. I am legally prohibited from parking in the marked handicap parking spaces, without a permit.

        Those "amenities" weren't installed for that sole employee. They were done to meet federal law. ("ADA")

    • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
      I was also going to say. Why do women get effectively more benefits than men? I am not going to argue against the usefulness, but it is "unfair".

      Assuming this is actually good for society by allowing would be mothers to postpone children a bit longer during their peak productive years, then this is an example of "unfair" sexism being good for society. Proving that sexism isn't inherently bad.
    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      Yes, married men with spouses at Apple will no longer have to share with their spouse the cost of egg freezing.*

      * doesn't help men not in this position.

      ** Apple policy doesn't help women not in a particular position either.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @11:57AM (#48150617)

    ... that women who have children don't have time to work but men who have children do?

    What percentage of women's down time for giving birth is larger than a man's golfing time?

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:23PM (#48150965)

      I'd add that, as a man, I'd like to see paternity time increased. When my first child was born, I was lucky enough to be able to take a week off of work to help. My wife had just given birth and while I can't ever completely know how hard that is, I knew enough to know that she would be exhausted so I took care of our new baby as much as I could - giving her time to rest up. Had I been able to take longer than a week, I would have.

      When our second child was born, I took a couple of days off, but wasn't able to take the week-long stretch that I took the first time.

      Many new fathers are looked down upon if they try to take time off to look after the new baby. There was one baseball player who was recently castigated by a sports announcer for daring to miss the first game of the season because his wife gave birth. He decided that helping his wife and new baby were more important than a baseball game. The sports announcer literally thought that the ball player's first priority should be to the game and not his family.

      Better paternity leave will also help women in the workplace because then the burden on taking care of the baby post-birth can be split evenly instead of just being tossed on the woman. (And then having people say "If we hire women they might leave to take care of their babies.")

      • by zlives ( 2009072 )

        but...but you are promoting a healthier social society rather than a more profitable corporate infrastructure.

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        Wow, which sporter announcer was this?

    • Thank you! I'm seeing a lot of comments here about how wonderful it is to make the choice to be a stay-at-home-mom, how great it is for the kids, and how that's not less productive than a high-paying job. But I'm not seeing the equivalent for men, that there's a tough choice between "being a dad" (stay at home dad) and "being a man" (with a job), that each male should be encouraged to make the choice that's right for him without pressure from his employer.

  • Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jargonburn ( 1950578 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:03PM (#48150703)

    emotional and cultural payoff may be more valuable, helping women be more productive human beings.

    Women are human beings?
    I am seriously appalled at that parting shot. I think choosing to pursue a career vs raising a family is a perfectly valid option. Bonus points if you can do both, but there are trade-offs for any of the choices.

    Also

    encourage women to stay with their employer longer

    Yeah, yeah, that's fine. "Encourage." Right up until the employer starts pressuring a woman into doing so and committing to her career before she can move ahead. For instance, unofficially giving preference to those who have done so when promoting/hiring. Might be a non-issue, as a woman could still choose to have children unless she's taken steps to remove that possibility.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Promoting people who have shown more dedication and put in more hours? When will the discrimination end!

    • Re:Wow! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zlives ( 2009072 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:45PM (#48151269)

      we have your eggs, get back to work

      • by RyoShin ( 610051 )

        Yeah, that was my thought on skimming TFA. If the company pays, what happens if the woman leaves the job (be it quitting, fired, laid off)? Does she have to pay back some or all of the amount the company paid in order to keep access to her eggs? What if the company goes under? I couldn't find mention of this in the article.

        Also, the line quoted by jargonburn ("helping women be more productive human beings") is the parting quote from the article said by Christy Jones, founder of Extend Fertility. I expected

    • Women are human beings?

      Slashdot ate my [/Sarcasm] tag, if it wasn't apparent from the context.

  • Wait, what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AutodidactLabrat ( 3506801 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:18PM (#48150893)
    "help women be more productive as human beings" is NOT the same as the result of this process.
    What Apple et al are doing is helping women be more PROFITABLE FOR THE SHAREHOLDERS as work units, not as Human Beings.
    Seriously, if "human being" really means "Work Unit" to these people, maybe it is time to find another employer.
  • by ThomasBHardy ( 827616 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:21PM (#48150939)

    I just sit and stare that that last sentence in the summary and shake my head.

    • by asylumx ( 881307 )
      That is a quote from Christy Jones, founder of Extend Fertility, a company that offers and promotes egg freezing across the country. That is NOT a quote from Apple or Facebook.
  • "helping women be more productive human beings" More productive than a mother?
  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @12:56PM (#48151417)

    And in 20yrs they'll be screaming that there are now tech workers.

    Where did they all go?
    Well back in 2014 you paid all the smart women not to have kids so....

    Brilliant!

  • An Obscenity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @01:08PM (#48151551) Journal

    "But the emotional and cultural payoff may be more valuable, helping women be more productive human beings."

    Some people would assert that raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted and well-loved children makes a more "productive" and "valuable" human being than working at a law firm or technology company.

    But hey, I'm old fashioned.

    • by jo_ham ( 604554 )

      Yes, and some people might believe the opposite - that they're more productive in their prime childbearing years working at a company rather than raising a child, but would like the opportunity to put off parenthood until later in life.

      Now they have the *option* of doing so without having to pay out of pocket.

      They had literally exactly the same opportunity before, but they had to pay for it themselves. Now it's an optional perk.

      Call me old fashioned, but I believe the comments in this article are a hilariou

      • I wonder if the spin would have been different if it were Google and Canonical announcing this? Nah, surely not. Slashdot isn't partisan in the slightest.

        If it were Canonical there's be a royal turd-storm over how long this latest initiative will last before they can it, same as so many other products in the past.

        And if it were google, with that same last line about allowing women to be more productive, it would be the same reaction, because it's stupid as all heck.

      • Hey, there's nothing wrong with prioritizing your life over your childrens', it just generally doesn't produce very good people.

        And if you think that building a better career so you can have more wealth and give your child more opportunities is worth the tradeoff, you probably don't really understand how much of parenting is about stuff other than dollars, anyway.

  • This is a pretty good example of a policy that, even if it's well-intentioned, kind of sends up a red flag about the company. This would tell me that employees who do not give over their souls to the company and complain about 90-hour death march weeks on projects will be replaced by the 100 other women lining up for their jobs.

    The other thing all these hard-working 20something women need to look into is the actual amount of effort required to turn those frozen eggs back into kids. My wife went through 2 su

  • The reality is that balancing a career with being a parent is typically much more difficult for women. In most relationships, it's the woman that take's on the greater responsibility when it comes to child care, - whether she is working full time or not.

    Given that, choosing to be a parent can have a bigger impact on a woman's career than a man's. Even as a man I've made career choices that I wouldn't have made if I didn't have my responsibilities as a parent to consider. It's worse for women.

    So while
    • You bring up a good point, one that causes a lot of friction between the generations. Since Millennials are delaying or skipping the whole parenthood thing, there is often a comparison in workplaces between the 20something who just got done pulling 2 all nighters to get the (whatever) working vs. the 30 or 40something who had to take another sick day because they had to take care of their sick kid. In bad workplaces it amounts to a subtle form of age discrimination. In more enlightened workplaces (like mine

  • From this article on the subject:
    http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/20... [wsj.com]

    "While still uncommon, egg-freezing allows women to remove and store eggs when they are in their prime fertility window, which often overlaps with prime career-advancement years. The quality of a woman’s eggs declines as she gets older, putting many women in a bind about whether to have children in their 20s and 30s. Egg freezing allows women to stockpile healthy eggs while advancing their careers or waiting to meet a partner with whom

    • Re:Slippery Slope (Score:4, Insightful)

      by unimacs ( 597299 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2014 @02:32PM (#48152509)

      From this article on the subject: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/20... [wsj.com]

      "While still uncommon, egg-freezing allows women to remove and store eggs when they are in their prime fertility window, which often overlaps with prime career-advancement years. The quality of a woman’s eggs declines as she gets older, putting many women in a bind about whether to have children in their 20s and 30s. Egg freezing allows women to stockpile healthy eggs while advancing their careers or waiting to meet a partner with whom they’d like to start a family.

      But the procedure is expensive, costing approximately $10,000 per round, and many doctors recommend two rounds to ensure the best possible batch of cells. In general, health insurance plans don’t cover the elective procedure."

      The last sentence is key. You can bet we are inching towards this $10,000 elective procedure being mandated by American health insurance, which means men will be the ones paying for it through taxes as demonstrated here:

      http://money.cnn.com/2013/05/1... [cnn.com]

      The sheer fact Apple and facebook are doing this is a "slippery slope". Give feminists an inch, and they will take a mile, and then blame you for not giving two miles. And the idea of giving $10,000 to a man to start a family? Nahhhhhhhh.

      If a couple decides to delay having kids and takes advantage of this benefit, doesn't the husband (a male most likely) save $10,000 as well?

      And last I checked, women were taxpayers too. ;)

  • As a male, I would have loved to have this type of coverage through my employer for my spouse. When my wife and I decided to have a baby, we had to go the IVF route due to a condition my wife has. Since we knew we wanted to have a second, but the odds of doing so naturally were very low, we chose to freeze/store the extra eggs they retrieved as part of the procedure. My employer's health plan had a maximum lifetime coverage of $25,000 for fertility services, but it does not cover the cost to freeze and stor
  • Or is it illegal for a company to found a kindergarden and afternoon care and offer its service to the employees?

    This egg freezing sounds retarded, how long is a woman supposed to postpone having children?

  • This was discussed a while back; it isn't married women who are freezing their eggs. Most women who want to freeze their eggs do so because they don't want to be single mothers. Finding a husband comes first, the frozen eggs are an insurance policy in case that doesn't happen when they're still young. Although one could make the argument that working too much limits their social life, that doesn't seem to be the problem. The real problem is that once they graduate from college "All the good men are married
    • A friend of mine had her eggs frozen because she was going to go through chemo.

      She was married, one kid and diagnosed with breast cancer.
      Before she started chemo, the doctors told them that there was a chance of infertility afterward.
      So she had her eggs frozen (after fertilizing them - apparently they do better that way)
      She had a masectomy and chemo.
      And now she's had a 2nd kid. (I don't know if they used a frozen egg or not. I don't think there's a polite way to ask that question, and it doesn't matter

  • Will be to offer surrogate mothers - if you offshore childbearing its "win win" in the latest MBA text books.

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