Santa Clara University School of Law graduate Madhumita Datta ’16 recently published an article, “Egg Freezing on Company Dollars: Making the Biological Clock Irrelevant?” in the DePaul Journal of Women, Gender and the Law. The article is available at the DePaul University College of Law digital commons.
In an attempt to boost gender diversity, two of the technology giants of Silicon Valley, Apple and Facebook, announced in October 2014 that they would cover the costs of freezing eggs, so that women employees who want to pursue both motherhood and a serious career could conveniently ‘time’ their pregnancy. Intel followed suit in October 2015. Unlike other reproductive benefits aiming to cure a biological deficiency such as infertility, employers promote egg freezing as an investment towards women employees’ career success. Women employees may take advantage of this benefit for non-medical reasons to delay pregnancy and childbirth because of the lure of making the biological clock irrelevant on the employers’ dime, perhaps ignoring the possible emotional costs of delaying motherhood. This paper concludes that women should not outsource the responsibility of striking a balance between a rewarding career and a fulfilling motherhood to their employers. Delaying motherhood to achieve other personal goals may produce negative consequences for women and the society in general. Instead of trying to dictate the most private decisions of an employee’s life, employers should recognize parenthood as a natural phenomenon that may happen to both men and women within the span of their employment, and strive to design employee benefits that reflect a commitment to be supportive of parenthood. At the most egg-freezing can be included within an array of other family-friendly benefits such as adoption assistance, flexible work schedule, paid parental leave, infertility treatment and the like.