What is a tech company to do when it’s eager to add more women to its staff, while fully aware of the difficult balance many women face between pursuing a demanding career and starting a family? It could offer female employees the option to slow down their biological clock by paying to freeze their eggs until the time is right to use them.
That’s what Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. will be doing, clearly part of a push in the tech world to even out the gender imbalance among its ranks. But while the egg-freezing service may seem both a canny solution and an alluring perk, some advocates for women in the workplace are worried about the potential message it sends. Namely: If you want to have children now, then you apparently aren’t making your Silicon Valley career a top priority.
“If women want this, I think it’s great that the companies are offering it. The worry is that it could be accompanied by a message that it’s not a responsible time to get pregnant,” said Joan C. Williams, founding director of the Center for WorkLife Law at University of California’s Hastings College of the Law
“And when you do [get pregnant], you obviously are making a choice that signals you’re not serious about your career.”
Facebook began offering cryopreservation and egg-storage benefits this year for non-medical reasons, and Apple will start in January, both companies confirmed to the Financial Post.
“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cyropreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments,” Apple said in a statement.