Companies looking to attract and retain talent have long offered incentives including bonuses, flex time and retirement plans. A new trend has companies offering support for family planning in the form of cryopreservation (or freezing) of female eggs. The procedure can cost upwards of $10,000.
The idea is that by offering female employees a sense of security that pregnancy may be delayed until a future date, they can focus on their careers without having to compromise family goals. Female employees will no longer be compelled to choose between career and family.
The technology for cryopreserving eggs and sperm has advanced , but is not perfect. An egg extracted from a female in her late 20’s and early 30’s – traditionally the primary years for career building – and frozen may tend to be a healthier specimen for In vitro fertilization (IVF) than a fresh egg of a woman in her 40’s, but there is still a risk the eggs may not survive the thaw process, fertilization process or develop into a normal blastocyst. Furthermore, there are no long term studies on children born from frozen eggs.
Which companies are offering cryopreservation?
Not surprising, Silicon Valley is leading the way in including egg freezing as an employee benefit. Companies including Apple, Facebook and Google are famous for their “campus” environment where the employees’ every need is anticipated in order to minimize distractions and drive productivity. Family planning seems a natural extension of this goal.
However, one company that surpasses all the tech giants in its number of employees also plans to offer this benefit. The Pentagon is launching a pilot program that will pay for troops to have their reproductive cells preserved as a way to help the U.S. Military retain talent. Women who reach 10 years of service – what Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter called “their peak years for starting a family” – have a retention rate that is 30 percent lower than their male counterparts. In the case of the Pentagon, cryopreservation of both female eggs and male sperm also provides a peace of mind for those in uniform that battlefield injuries to reproductive organs will not harm their chances of having children.
Learn more about CACRM’s cryopreservation services.