Work/Life: Egg Freezing Cocktail Parties for Millennials
More than a dozen of tech companies offer to pay for the egg freezing procedure of their female staff. Is this the kind of benefits companies have to offer to entice and hold onto Millennial employees?
Facebook and Apple started it and Yahoo followed two years later: a cryopreservation option that covers the freezing, storage and thawing of egg cells, sperm and embryos. Now, more than a dozen of tech companies based in the US - such as Google, Uber, Yahoo, Netflix, Snapchat, Intel, eBay, Time Warner, Salesforce, LinkedIn and Spotify - offer this kind of benefits, sometimes on top of other family-planning perks such as extensive support for infertility treatments or reimbursing eligible expenses associated with the legal adoption of a child.
It’s not a surprise the tech industry is taking the lead on that matter: it’s known for offering impressive extra’s to attract the best and brightest of staff. And they’re also under pressure to attract more female employees to their mostly male workforces.
Cryopreservation of egg cells has sparked new businesses in the US. Women who show interest in the topic can attend egg freezing cocktail parties or girl’s night out with a fertility specialist.
Critics claim these kind of benefits pushes women to put their career first and delay having children, and that companies should target their efforts on more flexibility for employees and on elaborating child care services. Also, egg freezing shouldn't be presented to women as a quick fix or as a common procedure. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine said the clinical pregnancy rate per thawed egg in trials it reviewed, was 4.5% to 12%.
According to a 2016 UK study however, women aren’t engaging with cryopreservation technology for their career, nor because they wanted to delay or put off motherhood. The vast majority wanted to pursue motherhood at the right time, in the right way, with the right partner. “A partner who was committed to parenthood, who was going to perform that role of the hands-on father and would share the role of upbringing, the pleasures and pains of upbringing, equally.” So for the majority of women, the main motivation to freeze their eggs or to delay parenthood is the infinite search for Mr(s) Right.
If you want to entice and hold onto the best and brightest of female staff, the challenge maybe lies in facilitating them in that search as well. By offering a more balanced office culture with enough time for life, love and work or allow employees to bond with colleagues or neighbouring companies.
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© Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty.