My eggs are drying up.
Or at least that’s what I think every time I scroll through my twenty and thirtysomething friend’s Facebook feeds full of their bouncing babies, baby bumps and even positive pregnancy tests (ya’ll tried it). At 30-years-old the reminders that my biological clock is ticking are everywhere. And I do want kids one day…they’re just nowhere in my foreseeable future. So what’s a girl to do? We’ve all heard that freezing your eggs is an option, and now two companies have made a potentially game-changing move to give their women employees greater access to the procedure by offering health insurance for it.
This week NBC News reported that techie giant Facebook recently began covering egg freezing, and Apple will follow suit in January. They are reportedly the first major employers to offer this coverage for non-medical reasons. Apple covers costs under its fertility benefit, and Facebook under its surrogacy benefit, both up to $20,000, which can put a significant dent in the costly process of egg freezing. The cost of medication and treatment for one cycle is roughly $10,000-12,000 and storing eggs will cost $500 per year. There are additional fees for unthawing eggs (approximately $15,000) and then more for the insemination process. But still, medical professionals say freezing your eggs may save thousands of dollars in fertility treatment down the road and with insurance coverage, that price just became even more affordable.
Of course one could see how a woman choosing to delay having children can potentially benefit a company too: go ahead, wait on a family and just work for us for another decade! How long until law firms, investment banking companies and otherly highly demanding jobs start offering this option?
But to advocates of the insurance changes, they offer more freedom for women. Some say without the crushing pressure of a ticking biological clock, women have more freedom in making life choices. “Not since the birth control pill has a medical technology had such potential to change family and career planning,” wrote author Emma Rosenblum in a Bloomberg Businessweek cover story that asked “Will freezing your eggs free your career?” There are no guarantees that the procedure will work or that the eggs will survive the unthawing process, so women shouldn’t put their eggs all in that basket, but it does provide another option.
Personally, while I do wonder if my time will run out before I’m ready to conceive naturally, I’m not sure I’d ever go the egg-freezing route…even if my company did make it cheaper. My theory: if it’s meant for me to have a child biologically, I will, if not there are plenty of children to adopt. But I’m still all for making the option more accessible to women, for those who do want to use it.
The reality is women in this country are waiting much later to have children, even when we want them, and even when studies remind us that fertility peaks in our 20s. The average age for first-time moms nationally rose from about 21 in 1970 to 26 in 2012, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, and it’s still counting. And what about the women who want to get married before having a children? Well, she may be waiting well passed the child-bearing years. Urban Institute recently reported that today’s young adults are on track have the lowest rates of marriage by age 40 compared to any previous generation. If the current pace continues, more than 30% of Millennial women will remain unmarried by age 40. All that said: many of biological clocks are still ticking away as we live the rest of our lives. Would you be more inclined to freeze your eggs as a “backup plan” if your company offered to pay for it? Sound off!
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