At a recent cocktail party in New York City, the women in attendance were sent away with gift bags that included Cadbury creme eggs. This was a bit on the nose. The party was hosted by a company called EggBanxx; it was less a party, actually, than it was a sales pitch. The event was meant to convince the event-goers of the merits of freezing their eggs. It was dubbed, appropriately, "Let's Chill."
Egg-freezing is expensive: The procedure generally costs $10,000, at minimum, for each round of egg-harvesting—doctors recommend at least two rounds to maximize success—with an additional $500 a year (or more) for storing the eggs. Which is why it has thus far, for the most part, been an option for women who are not just concerned about conception, but able to pay to quell their anxieties.
That may be changing. Now, NBC News reports, some of the biggest firms in Silicon Valley are offering elective egg-freezing as part of their benefits packages. Facebook recently began covering the procedure (under its surrogacy benefit); Apple, starting this January, will do the same (under its fertility benefit). Both companies will cover costs of up to $20,000.
That's suggestive, and not just in the trickle-down, As Goes the Valley, So Go We All sense of things. Benefits are, in addition to everything else, social indicators. They reveal what we value, as a culture. Paternity leave? Reassignment surgery for transgendered employees? Those offerings are bureaucratic changes that also show us where we are, and where we're headed, together. Facebook and Apple, for their parts, have long offered benefits for both fertility treatments and adoption. Facebook gives its new parents "baby cash": $4,000 to use for clothing, diapers, or whatever else they like. Egg-freezing is now an addition to that package.