Does offering the option of freezing eggs discourage motherhood?

Facebook and Apple announced an addition to employee benefit packages: up to $20,000 for women to freeze their eggs

If you work for Facebook or Apple, the option to put off having children for a decade may be only a click away.

This week the two Silicon Valley titans announced that their benefit packages for female employees will offer two rounds of egg freezing, a procedure that can cost close to $10,000 each time.

"It takes some of the financial burden off," said Kim Griffiths, the patient care manager at Egg Banxx. "It's almost a no-brainer decision to do this."

Apple reflected this feeling in its official statement, which read, "We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise families."

Young professional Leah Jane Lavin has gone through rounds of treatment and says it’s a good option for women not ready to settle down yet. "I want to focus on my career," she said. "I haven't met Mr. Right yet. I wanted to know that when I was ready, I would be able to go back and have kids."

So why would the companies offer this benefit? The nature of the traditionally male-dominated tech industry could be one reason.

"If you come in to get pregnant in, let's say, at 42, 43, and we have eggs frozen from when you were 35, it's like we're setting the clock back seven or eight years. It can be a huge advantage," said fertility specialist Dr. Jamie Knopman.

There is little data on births from frozen eggs. It's estimated only 2,000 babies have been born from them. The method was once reserved for women about to have chemotherapy, which carries the risk of temporary or permanent infertility. Now even though freezing eggs is an option for more women, it's still not widely used.

So in the land of free food, unlimited vacation days and even free massages if you bike to work, freezing eggs may seem like just another perk.

Is providing the benefit just another way to squeeze more work out of employees?

What about additional benefits for working moms?

Does egg freezing actually discourage motherhood?

We consulted a panel of experts for the Inside Story.

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