If you’ve found this blog via my Stella magazine piece, hello! How lovely of you to pop by. I should warn you that if you’re after regular updates and constant positivity, or are offended by swearing, you’re probably going to be disappointed, but I like to think I do a good line in telling it how it is, occasional ranting and slightly belated responses to relevant news stories. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the topic of today’s post. Because it’s not just me that’s been in the news. Over the last week or so there
have been a rather pleasing (for those of us who care about this sort of thing) number of stories about egg freezing.
First up, there was a series in The Lancet about fertility that the Guardian covered. Obviously the debate about efficacy rages on, but I found it very heartening that the overall message from the authors of the paper was that “egg-freezing has a clear future and that women should be told that this option is available”. Yay, soon everyone will be doing it – which is what my friend B told me when I first started thinking about it – so hopefully I’ll feel like less of freak one day. And yay, I’m a pioneer – which is what my friend J told me – although honestly I couldn’t have felt LESS like a pioneer on Sunday, but that’s for another post. Anyway, overall, hoo-fucking-rah that experts are a) bringing the matter to the table and b) advocating that more women should have access to it, which hopefully will make it cheaper too.
Which rather brings me to another thing. Today, it transpired that Facebook (already) and Apple (from January) are offering to cover the costs for employees of theirs who want to freeze eggs. Each will pay up to $20,000 – just over £12,500 – for the procedure. This is huge news. Although I’m not sure it’s all good news. (But then you’d expect me to say that, right?) On the one hand, awesome – egg freezing is being talked about, is being normalised, is a part of the news agenda. On the other hand, I’m pro-choice and I’d never want egg-freezing to be used as a tool against women – which sounds weird, but let me explain.
You’re 25 and you just got a job at Apple, well done you. They say they’ll pay for you to freeze your eggs and you think “Well, I’m 25, I’m single and I have no bloody clue if I want to have children yet or not but, hell, why not? I might as well freeze my eggs if someone else is paying for it.” And that’s brilliant. But say you’re in your early 30s, working at Apple, and you’re in a long-term relationship and you’ve been thinking about having children imminently. But your career’s going really well and overtly, or otherwise, there are suggestions from the people that you work with – and maybe even your partner – that going for egg-freezing might be a better option than having children right there and then.
That for me is a concern. Because – and maybe I’m cynical (maybe? OK, I’m cynical) – there is another way of looking at this, which is that by offering to freeze your eggs for you, your company is telling you that they want your (traditionally) child-bearing years, and that actually, working there isn’t compatible with having children, and could you possibly do it later on, please?
So while I applaud the fact that companies are talking about egg freezing, I would never want the fact that you can freeze eggs to be a reason why a company doesn’t make space for women with children. Just as I would never want the fact that you can freeze eggs to mean a woman is accused of not being serious about her career if she’s chosen to have children rather than freezing her eggs. I basically want every woman to be able to make the choices that are right for her, without fear that she’s going to be judged on it.
So yes, if you wouldn’t mind bringing me that, along with the moon on a stick, that would be lovely.