Apple’s New Employee Perk

October 16, 2014


A new perk at two Silicon Valley tech giants allows female employees to freeze their eggs, ostensibly so they can be as ambitious as they want well into their adult years — their biological clocks be damned. But at the end of the day, who really wins in this scenario? It may not be the women who freeze their eggs, but the companies who convinced them to do it.

Freeing The Eggs?

In early 2015, Apple will begin offering the complimentary service to women who work at its Cupertino corporate headquarters; Facebook began providing the option in January this year.

The procedure, whose technical name is oocyte cryopreservation, costs, on average, about $10,000, plus an additional $500 to $1,000 per year for egg storage.

If a 25-year-old woman freezes her eggs and waits until she’s 45 to have a baby, that’s at least a $20,000 perk.

The pros of such a scenario are numerous: Rather than marrying whomever they might be dating when they’re 27, before their fertility starts to decline, women can wait until they find the perfect partner with whom to raise children — or do it alone, if they choose.

They can go to graduate or professional school. And they can put family and child rearing on hold while they climb the corporate ladder and manage to save enough money to actually raise a child, which in Silicon Valley is estimated to cost around $30,000 per year.

But the implication here is that a woman’s career is categorically more important than her desire to be a mother, and in presenting this option as a “perk” Apple and Facebook are exerting a corporate agenda that benefits the companies far more than the women they purport to be helping.

Not One Of Their Best Ideas

In other words, Facebook and Apple are not likely doing this out of magnanimous concern for their female employees and their careers, but out of their own self-interest to become even more powerful, more profitable, and more dominant. After all, losing strong female employees to motherhood can have a serious impact on a company’s bottom line.

In the end, women should, of course, be free to do what they want and what will help them reach their goals, whether it’s a job in the C-suite or a spot in the stands at a Little League game.

But when presented with a “perk” like this one at Apple and Facebook, they might be wise to remember a valuable maxim of the capitalist workaday world: “Never love your company, because it will never love you back.”