But you know what it sounds like to me?
A hollow, patronizing gesture akin to Kobe Bryant giving his wife a $4 million ring during his “alleged” rape trial. While diamonds are supposedly a girl’s best friend, his (now ex) wife would probably have preferred the gift of keeping his privates in his pants.
Yes, I am comparing egg freezing to “oops I got caught” adultery gifts. But please, people, before you write me angry emails about the struggles of infertility, I’m only suggesting the comparison in the context of a company being clueless about what might actually be helpful to their employees. Not to mention less creepy.
Quite the magnanimous gift.
And yet, what message is this sending? How about this one: “We’re gonna need you to put anything in your life outside your job on hold indefinitely. You can have babies when you’re retired how ‘bout? Aren’t we such an awesome, forward thinking place!” Pat back. Trot out female CEO. More back-patting.
Forget for a moment that simply freezing one’s eggs does not guarantee a baby in the future. Our wombs age, our partner’s sperm age, thin, swim slower; we are at higher risk for complications like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low birth weight, chromosomal abnormalities and still birth, all of which make simply “putting off” having a baby more complicated, and life threatening, than passing up a promotion.
And check out France, who has some of the highest rates of fertility and, wait for it, employment rates for women, in the world. France mandates women receive full pay for sixteen weeks (even longer for a second or third child), they have free daycare/preschools and provide generous stipends for in home child care.
These options would be significantly cheaper for Apple and Facebook than paying for their female employees to freeze their eggs. On the other hand, I would wager Apple and Facebook are counting on very few of their paltry number of female employees to take them up on this eggsicle idea. Hence, making a real effort to attract and keep women (and some men, mind) is not deemed worth their effort or their money. They’d rather look magnanimous and “cutting edge” in the press, than take the real barriers for women in the workplace seriously.
They do it there, why not here? Because they don't have to.
They can just following the abysmal family leave laws of the U. S. government, which allow for no paid leave and twelve weeks unpaid, but only for women who have worked at a company of more than fifty employees for a year, equating to only one-fifth of new mothers qualifying for leave. Our country, home of the free and the brave, is one of only three countries in the world to leave new moms in the lurch. In case you are wondering, those two other countries are Oman, which is run by a Sultan and follows strictly to sharia law, and Papua New Guinea, where a large portion of the population is illiterate and on one of its islands, 41% of men report raping a women. How’s that for company?