US tech companies have long been known for their generous employee benefits but Facebook and Apple are now going a step further, offering staff a range of reproductive services including helping to find sperm donors and even freezing female employees’ eggs.
Apple has said that it intends to start paying for the latter procedure (oocyte cyropreservation) which allows women to delay having children from January next year, with Facebook already offering staff contributions of up to $20,000 (£12, 570) for the process.
In an industry where attracting talented managers and engineers is incredibly competitive, these particular perks could sway female staff who do not want to choose between having a family and advancing their careers.
"Anything that gives women more control over the timing of fertility is going to be helpful to professional women," Dr Shelley Correll, a sociology professor at Stanford University told the Associated Press.
"It potentially addresses the conflicts between the biological clock and the clockwork of women's careers: The time that's most important in work, for getting your career established, often coincides with normal fertility time for women. This can potentially help resolve that by pushing women's fertility into the future."
The viability of women’s eggs for conception declines steadily from around the age of 35, dropping more sharply past 40. This could make it difficult for companies to retain experienced and talented individuals who are forced to choose between their desire to have a family and further their career.
Doctors report that egg-freezing has been growing in popularity recently, with the procedure becoming four times more popular over the last four years. Extraction of the eggs can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 in America, with the storage bills adding an additional $1,000 each year.
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