Frozen Eggs Furore! What’s all the fuss about?
By Dinah Regan If like me you’ve recently read several blogs and articles on Apple and Facebook’s decision to offer to pay for their female employees to freeze their eggs to enable potentially more control over their family planning, you will have got an idea of the sense of outrage by some who have commented that this is a non family friendly practice which is encouraging women to put off starting a family until later on life without them fully understanding the potential risks involved. After reading comments about these companies not wishing to support working mothers with childcare and flexible working and headlines like ‘are we forcing women to delay having children?’, I can’t help but think we’re forgetting that these employees have a mind of their own. The way I see it, Facebook and Apple are simply offering their female employees an option. These companies both offer other family friendly benefits such as extended maternity leave and adoption and surrogacy assistance. Apple asked its employees what benefits they cared about and from my point of view, these companies are simply trying to give their employees some benefits that they will actually value. If they were offering egg freezing in isolation, I think we could potentially be justified in suggesting that this was controversial. However, it feels to me that these two tech businesses are simply offering an innovative suite of benefits in an attempt to attract and retain female employees. Going back to my point that the employees have a mind of their own; the outcry that has been documented by some who say that this option lulls the female employees into a false sense of security that they can decide when they have a child doesn’t credit these women with very much intelligence and suggests that they would make a flippant decision in relation to this important life choice. Surely any woman considering freezing their eggs would look into what the procedure involves, the risks attached and make an informed decision about whether it was right for them. The fact that it is being offered as a perk doesn’t automatically mean that all of the females are going to take advantage of the benefit, and it doesn’t stop anyone deciding to have a baby sooner in life with fresh eggs! What this highlights for me is the fact that all businesses should take time to consider what its employees really value and look for from their employer and shouldn’t be afraid to think outside of the (egg)box!