(CBS) — More women could have the option of freezing their eggs to use later. It’s an expensive process, but as CBS 2’s Erin Kennedy reports, some employers are now paying for it.
Jillene Szostak calls it her back up plan. She’s 36 and unmarried.
“I definitely want to be a mother someday,” she said.
She chose to freeze her eggs after deciding that having a family now wasn’t an option.
“I have these eggs that, granted, are my 36-year-old eggs, they’ll still be younger than 40-year-old eggs,” Szostak said.
She was lucky. Her medical insurance paid for most of the procedures.
Recently, Facebook began offering coverage for freezing eggs, a cost that can quickly add up to $20,000. Dr. Christopher Sipe says this employee perk empowers women.
“One of the things it really does is give them the option to choose family and career as opposed to family or career,” Dr. Sipe said.
But, UIC’s Dr. Barbara Risman does not necessarily agree that employers offering insurance for egg freezing is empowering.
“The implication is from their company that, hey, if you want to be a mother, do it on your own time after you work for me 10 years later, then that’s a very negative position,” she said.
Dr. Risman says that while freezing eggs may help some women, companies offering that coverage should also offer daycare and generous maternity and paternity leave. Facebook does, but she worries about other companies.
She worries that, “It creates really a sexist nation when only women are being told they cannot be workers and parents.”
Lori Andrews of Chicago’s Kent College of Law echoes that sentiment and has other concerns.
“It’s a risk. First of all, the procedure is fairly experimental still. It’s only been around for about 10 years,” Andrews said.
Andrews points out that even with younger eggs, there are health risks for an older mother and the child.
“You’re having a baby with an older dad and there are some chromosomal abnormalities and Autism that is associated with older male sperm,” she said.
Moreover, if you delay having a family, thinking your frozen eggs will definitely lead to children, you may be setting yourself up for incredible disappointment.
“We typically see a pregnancy rate for a woman who’s under 35 of around 40 percent, so if you have an older woman, then their pregnancy rate tends to be lower than that number,” said Dr. Sipe.
Jillene says it was a good option for her. She can look for a partner without feeling as much pressure from her biological clock.
“You have a savings account, you have a Roth IRA, you have a 401k, you have everything else that prepares you for the future, why not have this other thing?” she said.
Apple also plans to offer coverage for egg freezing beginning in January.