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Freezing Female Employees Eggs – A Chilling Revelation

By Practice Group Leader, Employment

It has been revealed today that Apple and Facebook in the U.S. are offering to freeze the eggs of female employees in a bid to attract more women.

The “perk”, which could cost up to $20,000 per employee, has been pushed as a way to give women the choice to have children later in life without stalling their careers. 

Hailed as a move to “empower” women the revelation poses many very uncomfortable questions. Who owns the eggs? If the freezing process fails, who is responsible? If you leave soon after having your eggs frozen, will the $20,000 cost to freeze the eggs be clawed back? What if you don’t opt to freeze your eggs, will you be perceived as not truly committed to your career? 

This surprising announcement sends out the signal that children are not compatible with career. It reinforces the stereotype that women only are responsible for the upbringing of children. However, in the UK we see increasing numbers of men taking time out of their career to look after children.

In addition, as recently as 1st October this year the UK Government introduced new provisions to better enable fathers to share parental leave with mothers which will apply to babies due or adopted on or after 5th April 2015. 

Whilst this may be an attempt to rectify Apple and Facebook’s gender imbalance, with Apple’s workforce being reported as 70% male, and Facebook’s 69%; we fear it is misguided.

Surely a better way of attracting female talent would be promoting family friendly policies for men and women alike whilst encouraging a better work-life balance. We can’t help but conclude that whilst Apple and Facebook may be at the forefront of technological advancement this is a backward step in the fight to bring equality to the workplace.

Paula Chan is an Employment Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in London.

For more information or to speak with an Employment Solicitor call freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.

Slater and Gordon are a nationwide law firm with 1,450 staff and offices in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Derby, Cardiff, Milton Keynes, Merseyside, Bristol, Halifax, Newcastle, Wakefield, Cambridge & meeting rooms in Bramhall, Cheshire.