Technology

Facebook and Apple are giving female staff the opportunity to delay starting a family – by paying for them to freeze their eggs

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The initiative is part of the so-called “perks arms race” as Silicon Valley firms battle to recruit top talent and it is hoped the perk will attract more women into a traditionally male-dominated sector.
Other benefits offered by companies to keep workers happy include free lunches, dry cleaning, yoga and massages.
Facebook was first to propose the perk and Apple will begin offering it in January, NBC said.
The firms are offering up to $20,000 (£12,600) to cover procedure and storage costs.
In a statement Apple said it “cares deeply” about its employees and their families, adding “we are always looking at new ways our health programmes can meet their needs.
“We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new, extended maternity leave policy, along with cryo-preservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatments.
“We also offer an adoption assistance program, where Apple reimburses eligible expenses associated with the legal adoption of a child.”
Shelley Correll, a sociology professor and director of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University said: “Anything that gives women more control over the timing of fertility is going to be helpful to professional women.
“It potentially addresses the conflicts between the biological clock and the clockwork of women’s careers.”
However, experts point out freezing eggs is a relatively new procedure that does not guarantee a successful pregnancy.
Corey Whelan, of the American Fertility Association, said: “It’s really, really important for women to know it’s not a guarantee of motherhood.
“Some women consider it an iron-clad insurance policy. It’s not.”
The procedure is gaining popularity as more women put motherhood on hold.
A post on the online forum eggsurance.com says: “Women today are at a cultural and generational crossroads. We have the same career expectations and demands as men.
“As our biological clocks tick away, we must establish ourselves in the workplace, find the right mate, and become financially secure enough to establish a family.”
Microsoft reported earlier this month that only 29% of its staff were women, while at Google it was 30%.
Some 31% Facebook employees are women, but just 15% are in technical jobs.
 

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