Facebook and Apple are known for innovation, and now the tech giants are innovating on the HR front. Facebook recently started offering elective egg freezing as part of insurance benefits packages for female employees and Apple will follow suit in January.
NBC News reports that Facebook will cover the procedure under its surrogacy benefit and Apple under its fertility benefit, for costs up to $20,000.
Facebook and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The price tag on egg freezing is a substantial one. On average, one round can cost up to $10,000 dollars with annual storage costs that range anywhere from $500 to $1,000. In 2012, as technology and success rates improved, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine held that the procedure wasn't considered "experimental" anymore.
Facebook already provides $4,000 in "baby cash" to employees who are new parents, and offers reimbursements for adoption and daycare fees. In the case of the egg freezing however, if the companies were to reimburse their employees for the cost, rather than cover it as part of the overall medical plan, the employees would be compelled to disclose that they were getting the procedure done.
It would seem that these decisions are about something bigger than just an expansion of perks. Apple and Facebook are the first large companies to offer this option for "non-medical reasons," begging questions about what other options this might open the door for. The Atlantic's Megan Garber pointed to gender reassignment surgery for transgender employees as a possibility, especially if we view benefits as a means to explore shifting values in the workplace and country as a whole. It could also be seen as an overture towards tempering the view of Silicon Valley as a perpetual boy's club.
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