Egg freezing is a perk too far in Silicon Valley’s war: Apple is intruding too far on women’s personal choices

“Companies are always looking at ways to attract and retain talented employees. Nowhere more so than in Silicon Valley, where America’s leading technology businesses live or die by the brain cell,” The Financial Times editorializes. “Now, two of the district’s most influential residents, Apple and Facebook, have taken this so-called ‘perk arms race’ to a new pitch. As part of a drive among traditionally male-dominated Valley firms to attract more female talent, both are offering benefits to women who devote more of their childbearing years to building their careers.”

“Egg freezing is an expensive and relatively novel treatment. Costs typically amount to $10,000 at the minimum for each round of egg-harvesting, plus up to $500 a year for storage. Both companies have undertaken to cover costs up to a cap of $20,000,” The Financial Times writes. “This is financially generous and may be a perk that some women will welcome. But if it is open to all female employees and not just to those experiencing fertility problems, there are doubts about the wider message that it sends. Benefits are social indicators. When companies offer entitlements such as paternity leave and assistance with childcare, they reflect what we value as a culture. The offer to assist with egg freezing sends just such a signal. It implies that women should consider deferring childbirth if they want to do well in their jobs.”

“Setting aside the invasive and uncertain nature of the treatment that is on offer, it implies that employees should adapt their lifestyles to fit in with the desire of companies for a disruption-free office,” The Financial Times writes. “The concern is that once a company begins to offer this as an off-the-shelf benefit, the message will go out that this is not so much an option as a preferred solution. Given the intensely personal nature of the decision when to start a family, this feels both intrusive and creepy.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The road to Idiocracy is paved with good intentions.

90 Comments

  1. “…looking at ways to attract and retain talented employees…”?

    I call BS on this claim. It’s not about employees; it’s about politically correct publicity — something Tim Cook focuses on.

    1. Besides, the “intruding” part is blatant nonsense.

      Apple pays additionally if women want to freeze their eggs, not subtracts from their wages if they decline to. So this whole issue is upside-down BS FUD and nothing more.

    2. Correct.

      It is a SEXIST benefit.

      It is a POLITICALLY CORRECT benefit.

      It is a LEFT of LEFT WING politics benefit.

      Just doesn’t feel right, weird like some bad sci-fi movie and does send mixed messages to women and their spouses. Men are completely shut out and irrelevant in the decision.

      Meanwhile, iPad details fumbled to the media before the big announcement.

      Apple: More and more a LOOSE ship because PC ALL THE TIME comes FIRST and at a bad publicity price. The employees are lucky Steve is no longer around to kick their scrawny arses!

      1. Bullshit. You could say the same about lots of different benefits that are part of what rich companies offer to retain the best employees. And this is no more sexist a benefit that coverage for erectile dysfunction issues or prostate cancer.

        Get over yourself. Apple is doing just fine without your help.

            1. Prostrate cancer covered by Apple?

              If so, SEXIST benefits for MEN is WELCOME and will help to LEVEL the playing field overwhelmingly favoring WOMEN.

              Warped mind? Because I fight for EQUALITY?

              GEE, not a surprise.

          1. This is most absurd. When it comes to child-bearing, the physiological difference between men and women puts women at a serious disadvantage (biologically). They must carry the baby for nine months (while men don’t need to do anything); they must go through the agonising pain of childbirth, after which they must spend time with their infant, feeding it every two-three hours, all the while the men who fertilized their eggs has no biological function related to the baby any more. Women’s fertility is much more delicate than men’s. There is a limited number of eggs in women’s ovaries (from about one million they have at birth, only about 500 end up ovulating), and beyond the age of 35, the likelihood of becoming pregnant spontaneously (through regular intercourse) drops significantly, and this is for an average healthy woman. Men don’t have this problem; they produce sperm well into their old age and can impregnate a woman practically until the end of their lives.

            Any company trying to attract talented women engineers must offer a package of benefits squarely aimed at women in order to tilt the scales slightly away from heavily-favoured men’s end of those scales. Most countries in Europe have fully-paid mandatory maternity leave in excess of six months (in some of them, it is 15 months), which goes a long way in motivating women to pursue professional careers (and it shows in their statistical data). We can argue about the disadvantages of this (employers avoiding to hire women who may be having a child after child, paying a salary for someone who’s never there, or a women falling out of her expertise after a year of absence from work), but the point remains, the playing field is so heavily tilted in men’s favour that benefits for women only are just trying to reduce that imbalance. Even with this little benefit, there is a loooooong way to go before the playing field between men and women can be called even.

        1. Run away because you know deep down, my observations are correct.

          As a liberal you have no problem Apple going publicly über-liberal under Tim Cook. It seems you are uncomfortable when the OBVIOUS is simply stated that ALL can see. Whatever.

          Would like to hear a compelling counter argument. But in absence, exercise is always a good thing and don’t slip or trip.

          Please don’t

          1. “As a liberal you blahblahblah”

            You’re an asshole assuming your asinine observations have any validity. Total FAIL on your part. Please DO STFU. I’m sick to death of political morons who can’t think beyond 1 dimension: Right Versus Left. Right off the bat you dopes give yourselves away. UNFIT for debating.

            So please DO get lost, you and the rest of the poliTard morons around here.

            No wonder my country is turning into a hell hole of stupid.

      2. Sometimes sexism can’t be avoided. There are two physiologically different sexes. Women tend to lose fertility at a younger age. If Apple wishes to help by providing extra money for family planning, who are we to complain? It’s their money to do with what they wish. And what the hell makes family-planning so left of left? I know it’s left of the Catholic church, but with them there’s a lot of room on the left and not much on the right.

        1. Thanks for a thoughtful and reasoned response.

          I do agree family planning is important and Apple now offering benefits to women is a welcome part of the overall equation.

          What about MEN?

          Are they excluded from benefits and denied equal partnership at the family PLANNING TABLE??? Hmmm?

          Of course THEY ARE! And liberals are to BLAME.

          This is my main issue with PC liberal centric thinking currently running Apple and wearing it on their sleeves.

          Family planning and incentives for both SEXES, APPLE. PUHLEEZE!

          1. I’m sure Apple will pay for freezing sperm. The technology is the same but rather than a medical procedure it requires whacking off into a cup. Men seem to stay fertile well into their dotage so it isn’t that much of an issue.

            BTW, the occasional capitalized word is good for emphasis but too many make you sound like you’re red faced and screaming and about to be taken away by the nice young men in their clean white coats.

          2. Wait, you are asking a question, then giving a wrong answer, then finishing a statement based on that wrong answer.

            Fertility treatment for men has been a part of Apple’s regular health plan for men practically forever. You are simply NOT CORRECT there.

            If you are talking about the equivalent benefit for men, then it is clear that you don’t understand the biology behind the fertility. Freezing men’s sperm at young age for the purposes of using it later is rather pointless — if a man is fertile at 30, he will likely remain fertile until 80. If there are any issues with motility, IVF is there to help with conception, and benefits are available to cover it.

            As I said elsewhere in this discussion, biological differences between men and women put women at a severe disadvantage, which require a hefty packet of women-only benefits in order to even begin to even the playing field between the sexes. There is a long way to go, with many more benefit packages for women only, before there is even a semblance of equality. And there isn’t anything liberal or conservative about that.

      3. Oh do fuck off! You are the worst sort of conspiracy nut Internet troll.
        Women have used their choice to do this for years.
        As have men when their fertility is threatened in some way.
        Only a fuckwit like you could see this as some sort of PC smokescreen dreamed up by Tim Cook.
        Who’s gay, and has no personal investment in this; he’s recognised the fact that women are putting off having children until later in life, when their fertility is dropping off.
        Happened to a close friend of mine, she spent £5000 on fertility treatments that sadly failed; given the option of frozen eggs, it probably wouldn’t have done, but she spent twenty years building up a successful hotel/restaurant business instead.

        1. You are good at pejorative schoolyard name calling.

          But what you are NOT good at is offering one convincing counter argument.

          Liberals only get UPSET when people speak the TRUTH about them.

          Toke on that one, junior.

  2. Ummm, these people understand that Apple isn’t FORCING its young female employees to freeze their eggs, right? They’re just offering to pay for it if the employee happens to want to undergo the procedure.

  3. While Tim Cook is solving his female egg problem, perhaps he can task a few engineers to fix the broken IMAP feature in his Mavericks email program, which has been hosing enterprise clients for a year now.

    1. Mark, that was fixed two versions ago. Next Step: Go rant and rave at GOOGLE who deliberately did NOT follow the IMAP protocols, forcing other companies, like Apple, to compensate for their Microsoft-esque disregard for user-friendliness and world standards.

      IOW: Nice try, anonymous coward dick.

  4. Nobody thought Apple went too far
    when the company supported abortion or homosexual marriage.
    It’s all about “personal choice” after all. 😜
    The next big liberal cause will be multiple marriage in all its forms.

        1. Anybody who thinks that Obama is a ‘liberal’ is probably harbouring a value system that is somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan.

          I could point to a number of aspects of the Obama presidency where Richard M Nixon was positively socialist by comparison.

        2. The conservative cause is what gets stupid people into positions of power and authority in the country. Just look at the creationists and climate deniers in office. Conservatives are responsible for the science being taught in our classrooms to be dumbed down for religious reasons and because they’re owned by the corporations that don’t want to spend money lowering their greenhouse gas emissions.

  5. Geez. What a bunch of fscked up people we have here. Apple offers an expensive procedure that enables women to have better careers by delaying childbirth IF THEY SO CHOOSE and you evil fscks complain it’s some sort of evil Liberal plot to – I don’t even know what.

    1. That’s right wing logic at its finest. Doing something nice is an evil liberal plot.

      Actually it goes against the religious right’s perception of family planning, “God should decide when a woman should have a baby, anything else is Heresy:”

      They used a similar argument when lightning rods were invented: “God should decide when a building gets hit by lightning, anything else is Heresy:”

      Most of society has matured since and will again. Baby steps.

    2. You are right when you admit you don’t know.

      Men should be equally engaged in family planning and offered benefits for male only conditions, same as female only conditions for women.

  6. How much choice do you think the members of the Financial Times editorial board have? Absolute control because they have the means to private pay. How many of them have exercised their power in favor of divorcing the mother of their children for a trophy wife? How much freedom does either wife have? What room do the editorialists have to complain about letting somebody else enjoy the same freedom that they enjoy?

  7. So if a female employee wants to start a family she should be offered sweet maternity benefits, but if she wants to focus on her career it’s wrong and she can go to hell?

    That’s the signal this clickbait–err, article seems to be sending.

  8. What a load of crap! Apple and Facebook are simply offering a benefit to their employees. There’s no “message” other than those companies want to increase total compensation to attract and retain talent.

    Sometimes a frozen egg is just a frozen egg.

    1. There are a lot of women who will believe that Apple is going through this trouble because Apple PREFERS that women working for them delay pregnancy and devote the time to work. Those concerned about the way this benefit is being presented are concerned that these women may feel pressured, whether or not Apple means to do so.

      Leaving aside any moral judgment on the procedure itself, I believe that Apple should clarify this point. Yes, there will be some who have doubts about motivations no matter what you do, but this is a very expensive benefit for Apple to provide; it is reasonable to assume that Apple expects to get some benefit from it, however indirect. I think Tim should put all his cards on the table for this one, just to set the (sane) doubters at ease.

  9. It sounds “progressive.” It’s a big win for what Apple perceives to be their demographic.

    It sounds like Apple is saying “We want to attract more women in technology!” Attracting more women in technology is a silly popular notion in the “Lean Forward” crowd that dovetails nicely with the war on men, but whatever. As long as we get more engineers who cares. I’m more impressed when those who decry gender or race based discrimination leave gender and race out of the argument. They never do though.

    It sounds like Apple is saying “You can have it all,” which is just more silliness from the “Lean Forward Crowd” because you can’t have it all. No one can. You can’t raise a child properly while working 18 hours a day. It just doesn’t work. In real life people make sacrifices. Still, whatever. If some gifted engineer puts off having a child to work for a while, it seems like a win win.

    It makes Apple sound like they’re at the forefront of women’s issues, but seriously, I doubt a very large percentage of female employees take advantage of the program. I could be wrong, but the engineering mindset is neither male nor female, but rational. I kind of see them looking up from their screens, blinking at the person relating the news, and quietly going back to work.

    It makes Apple seem very “European” offer benefits that go above and beyond the norm.

    And yes, it is a win for lefty Tim. These are his people. He will be the star of the cocktail parties for many years to come.

    Bottom line is that it might be of some assistance to some people and other than that, changes nothing. And that’s just fine.

    1. You are probably correct that there may be little practical change, and just few women will take advantage of this benefit. After all, egg freezing is primarily a fertility treatment, rather than family planning method, and fertility problems tend to affect less than 10% of child-bearing women in America. Now, this benefit allows a woman to freeze her eggs for the future. For some, this may be an insurance policy, in case there are fertility problems once they decide to conceive and have a family.

      What Apple is saying is precisely that: “We want more women in technology!” And this benefit adds just one more little incentive to make that happen. And this has nothing to do with a war on men, but is very much similar to the issue of race (which you rightly mention). The sort of discrimination that African Americans went through (and are still going through in some corners of America) has put so many obstacles in their path that those who wanted to attain acceptance in the higher levels of society had to become significantly better at what they do than their white colleagues, in order to be accepted. From the Tuskegee airmen, to Thurgood Marshall, to Jackie Robinson to all other prominent black Americans, in order to get the deserved recognition, they had to do significantly better than all other white competitors. Similar thing could be said in engineering, especially software engineering, where we still see very much of a boy’s club, which continues to consistently discriminate against women engineers, which tends to discourage many of otherwise talented and capable women from pursuing software engineering. Apple wants those talented and capable women (much like they want capable and talented minorities of all kinds).

      In America, there is still persistence of discrimination against minorities of any sort that is not white male. Some parts of the country have barely traces of it, in others it is quite visible. It simply doesn’t matter what sort of minority are you: woman, Hispanic, gay, black, asian; as long as you aren’t a white male, you aren’t accepted into their boys’ club.

      Any effort to even this field by encouraging talented and capable minorities to pursue careers they otherwise wouldn’t because of this discrimination is good for Apple’s bottom line, even if the result may not be directly measurable.

      1. After re-reading, the message implies that I talk about women as minorities (even though they represent more than half of the population); in many industries, they certainly are minorities, excluded by the boys’ clubs of white men. The legacy of stereotipical gender roles (breadwinner vs. homemaker) is very difficult to eradicate.

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