Facebook and Apple will reportedly now pay for female employees to freeze their eggs, making the tech giants the first two major companies to publicly offer such a perk.
Part of efforts to attract top female talent to the sector, the benefit will allow women to devote time to their careers without worrying about being unable to become pregnant at a later age, advocates of the technique say.
Facebook started covering the procedure this month, while Apple will start in January, NBC News reported.
"Apple cares deeply about our employees and their families, and we are always looking at new ways our health programs can meet their needs,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told Al Jazeera in an email.
The technique can be prohibitively expensive, costing about $10,000 per treatment round. Doctors recommend performing two rounds for a successful procedure, and storage costs are another $500 per year. Both companies will cover expenses up to $20,000.
Most insurance policies don't cover egg freezing, classifying it as an elective procedure. Though it is often covered when women become infertile as a result of a medical procedure such as chemotherapy.
“We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families," Huguet added.
Sean Tipton, chief advocacy and policy officer at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), said the move set the companies apart from many employers who “often discriminate against those who need reproductive services.”
Women are increasingly approaching their physicians to explore their options in managing their fertility, the ASRM reported. In 2012, the organization removed the procedure off their list of experimental techniques, citing improved success rates.