Recently we learned some big news: Facebook and Apple will now pay for female (obviously) employees to freeze their eggs. These two companies appear to be, accordingly to NBC News, "the first two major employers to offer this coverage for non-medical reasons."
This news has elicited many different reactions from people. Here are some of my first reactions, in chronological order:
1. Cool! Seriously, my first reaction was "they are trailblazers!" This will change the conversation about women's choices, gender equality and fertility benefits from this point forward. Hopefully the competition for female workers in the U.S. will drive more companies to follow suit. The U.S. could use more smart women staying in the workforce kicking ass and taking names.
2. What about backlash? Could this hurt women who decide to have babies the old fashioned way and take time off to do so? Will that make it even harder to fit back into the workforce than it is now? Is this some kind of commentary about women's focus on parenthood and fertility? The U.S. ranks 23rd in the world in gender equality according to The 2013 Global Gender Gap Report. A few frozen eggs aren't going to change that.
3. Egg freezing is mainstream now? I wasn't sure I knew this. So I looked it up and yup, freezing eggs was deemed "no longer experimental" two years ago. (Read CNN's coverage on that here.) And yes, "two years ago" was like yesterday. That's how progressive this move is.
4. It's a trick. If Facebook didn't have Sheryl Sandberg on staff (the author of "Lean In" and bad ass champion of us ladies), I'd be very suspicious that this was simply a ploy to keep women working and not having babies and taking maternity leave (or leaving altogether). They pay for women to put their eggs on ice so they won't feel the rush to procreate and they'll stay working like dogs for them. Conclusion: company turns more profits. Let's just say if my "company" all of a sudden offered this benefit I'd definitely keep my eggs in my own freezer...which leads to...
5. Cloning! They want to steal eggs (who's gonna miss a few, amirite?) so they can manufacture their OWN workers who will make iPhones TWICE AS FAST! Hopefully they'll at least keep those workers right here in the U.S. of A.
6. I'm too old to freeze my eggs even if I worked at either of those companies. It was a startling reminder of my age to go from: "Oh that's a great idea, I would totally do that" to: "Wait a second, my eggs shriveled up years ago. Drat." Owell.
7. Wait a second, do I even want to have kids? The answer is generally no, but then I asked myself "What if I regret that?" and I answered "Well, you're a SINK* and you still don't have the resources to support a kid so you don't really have a choice." Then I remembered "Oh that's right. Plus I dislike children."
I'm sure that puts it all into perspective for you.
*That's "Single Income, No Kids" (I made it up). It's like "DINK" only sadder.
P.S. I asked a male friend his first reaction to this news and as expected the only thing he was concerned with was the financial aspect. I believe his exact words were "Jeez, that's when you know a company is rolling in dough."
And that, my friends, is why men are from Mars and women are from Venus.