Apple, Facebook offer fertility perk for women

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Google and Facebook are offering a new employee perk to attract more female employees. It allows women to keep working and delay motherhood for years. The two Silicon Valley giants are paying women to freeze their eggs. Egg freezing is expensive, generally costing a minimum of $10,000 and usually reaches twice that cost.

Some are calling this a game changer for women in the workforce who want to be mothers.

For those of you who have read the Anne-Marie Slaughter article, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All," you realize how difficult it is to be at the top of your game while being a wonderful mom. Now these two companies are saying you can do both, maybe not at the same time, which opens up a whole new conversation.

The tech industry is still dominated by men. Most women would say they welcome any amount of help to climb the corporate ladder.

How about up to $20,000 dollars to freeze their eggs?

"I think it empowers women because it gives them more of an option to take on their career now and not be pressured to have children now, right this second," said Jocelyn Nitahara.

Facebook offers egg freezing and storage as part of the company's benefit package. Apple will start doing the same in January.

Apple told ABC7 News:

"We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families."

Quite often women put off having children because of their careers only to realize how hard it is to start a family later on. Others give up their careers during the early childbearing years.

Doctor Carl Herbert is with the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco. He says eggs become less viable over time.

"These eggs are changing over time, so yes, the eggs that you have are more plentiful in your 20s and the percentage of good quality eggs is significantly higher," said Herbert.

The harvesting of eggs has been around for decades. Several hormone injections are needed to produce a fair amount of eggs.

"Some women will produce ten eggs, some will produce 25 eggs," said Herbert.

Each time the cost is about ten thousand dollars. Both Apple and Facebook cover up to $20,000.

Dr. Herbert says with today's new techniques, 85-percent of the eggs that are thawed, survive.

But don't expect every woman to jump at the idea.

"When it comes to getting involved in employee's health and longevity and family planning, I think it's over the top, it's creepy," said Denise Howell.

But when it comes to searching for a job, perks do matter. As things go in the Silicon Valley, other companies may soon follow.
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