warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Facebook And Apple Set A Good E(gg)xample

Marisa Zocco |
October 15, 2014 | 9:58 p.m. PDT


The iBaby and Facekid are now in (re)production (Chris Smith/ Flickr Creative Commons)
The iBaby and Facekid are now in (re)production (Chris Smith/ Flickr Creative Commons)
Female workers are not a dime a dozen as two corporations are very clearly demonstrating.

Facebook and Apple are the first companies to announce that they will pay for female employees to freeze their eggs. Though some argue that this move discourages motherhood by encouraging women to place career before maternity, can providing women with options ever be truly negative?

As a 29-year-old woman in an undergraduate program, the ticking of my biological clock can at times be deafening. "Be a writer," my inner voice says. But some days I can barely hear it because more than anything in life, I want to be a mother. With the rising costs of living and raising a child however, the truth is that for many, to provide a life of opportunity and stability for their future children a two-income household is not an option but a necessity.

Women then, must generally make the choice to be career women or mothers. Recent research found that of college-educated women aged between 33 and 46, almost half—43 percent—are childless.

What Facebook and Apple are saying with this announcement is that they value their female workers. In exchange, in offering to pay for their eggs to be frozen, what they present to these women is opportunity. 

These companies are providing intelligent and determined women who have decided to strive for career greatness, with the opportunity to achieve their goals without having to ignore motherhood. They are providing a snooze button for women’s biological alarm clocks and a little rest from the stress that comes from those alarms sounding while women climb toward career pinnacles. 

Beyond demonstrating their appreciation for female employees, a less obvious point is that Facebook and Apple will be offering an unprecedented amount of medical understanding to those who decide to take advantage of the offer. The procedure before egg retrieval is a grueling and precise one that at points requires self-injections and daily doctor’s appointments which may have to come in the middle of the work day.

And frankly in offering to pay for this procedure, from a strictly financial value, they’re offering a rather large bonus.


At USC Fertility, a University-based program that is part of the Keck School of Medicine, the procedure of egg freezing alone costs $10,000 and an additional $500 annually for storage beginning after the first year. 

Procedures are also necessary after freezing. When a woman decides to focus on motherhood, sperm must be clinically injected into the frozen egg via needle, and the woman must then be implanted with the embryo. This process is called in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and each attempt at implantation costs $5,000, bringing the total for a single process to $15,000 excluding storage costs.

Both companies offer to pay up to $20,000 for the costs associated with assisted reproductive technology (ART).

The greater value, however, comes in the form of the emotional benefit: knowing that for those women who wish to have children, their chances of a successful pregnancy do not decline each year they decide to put career first. 

Recent data suggests that pregnancies resulting from ART are approaching the birth rates of natural pregnancies. The data shows that depending on the number of IVF cycles a woman undergoes, the greater her chances at a delivering a child. Live-birth rates with IVF range from 57 to 80 percent. 

In naturally occurring pregnancies, the general fertility rate is the best predictor of reproductive behavior and success. This metric takes into account the chances of becoming pregnant based on factors such as age, weight and how long a couple has been trying to conceive. This measurement also specifically includes the overall live birth rate. 

The general fertility rate for natural pregnancies varies from 15 to 85 percent depending on age and how long a couple has been trying to conceive. Averaged out, the chances of conceiving naturally and delivering a child before the age of thirty are about 53 percent. For women who try to conceive naturally after the age of 30, odds begin to diminish.

This is where Facebook and Apple’s offering to pay for the freezing of their female workers’ eggs becomes a remarkable benefit.

Research indicates that the probability of becoming pregnant depends on the age of the egg more than the age of the woman herself. Women who freeze eggs in their 20s and decide to try conceiving in their 30s and 40s are expected to have the same chances of becoming pregnant and delivering a child as they would if they had been implanted at the time their eggs were frozen. The reasoning behind this is that the younger the egg is, the fewer chances there are of chromosomal abnormalities resulting in early miscarriage.

Indirectly, Facebook and Apple are therefore not only offering career opportunity, but slightly better odds of becoming pregnant if a woman should decide to do so in her 30s. Yes, these corporations are asking the female employees that they value to temporarily hold off on childbearing. But this opportunity would also give women like me a slice of exactly what we’re asking for: the ability to have a strong career without sacrificing our desire to one day be mothers.

Essentially women have been placing all our eggs in one basket; namely one called ‘career’. Now women at these two companies get to chose to place them in a cryogenic freezer or keep them in their ovaries while seated at their workdesks. It is a win win situation.

Considering the amount of support, understanding and opportunity these two companies are giving to their female workers, I just want to kiss their Facebooks; I want a slice of the Apple pie. 

The only question that I am left with is not one of ethics or that questions if these corporations see any value in motherhood, but if other large companies who have the means shouldn’t offer the same advantage.

Contact Contributor Marisa Zocco here; or follow her on Twitter here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.