The recent announcement made by Facebook and Apple to fund human oocyte cryopreservation (egg freezing) for their employees is a powerful reminder of how complicated our world has become. The implications of women ‘electively’ delaying reproduction for reasons well beyond the medical community’s current recommendations are almost unfathomable. My head hurts just thinking about it.
No doubt, the choice "to delay or not to delay" childbearing is highly personal, with both options offering critical factors, inevitabilities and outcomes to consider. But as fundamental truths weigh on all of us–namely, the realities of raising children, financially and otherwise–the idea of feathering our financial nests a bit longer before laying our eggs shouldn’t be judged, in my opinion. I’d probably choose differently based on my particular priorities, but that’s just me. Every woman needs to make her own educated decision on the matter.
I find myself wondering, though, if better individual and societal alternatives to delaying childbirth are being overlooked. There are other solutions to the challenges of modern parenting that also offer widespread educational, health, and family benefits. Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook and the rest of corporate America, listen up!
I fail to see why companies don’t create private daycare facilities more often. The return on such an investment, internally as well as externally, would be immense. Not to mention more lasting than the benefits from the $100 million Mark Zuckerberg contributed to Newark, NJ’s, school system, now plagued by accusations of improper management.
Since progress, financial realities, and global competition truly require the talents and intellectual contributions of women to be increasingly integrated in all industries, the fact is that women are going to need innovative solutions to keep them in the workforce throughout their childrearing years.
Women need support in order to remain devoted to their careers and employers, without giving up their productive years or putting their families on hold. Employers should adopt an expanded, more enlightened view on this matter immediately because, just like Facebook and Apple have already realized, helping employees in their personal lives will inspire them in their professional lives. Forward-thinking companies like these will be rewarded in numerous ways, including employee retention,
The truth is that putting your eggs on ice guarantees nothing–not even financial stability at the time when you finally choose to give parenthood a go. Additionally, you risk losing the opportunity to enjoy the grandchildren who will come of your offspring down the line, or the well-earned years of play that retirement offers.
Another factor that should be contemplated is potential health issues that could arise, as the reality of being a parent crosses paths with the reality of aging. These are all considerations that need to be addressed by every woman, and anyone in corporate America considering egg freezing as an employee benefit.
Companies need to adjust or suffer the consequences. By creating scenarios that favor the personal welfare of the family as a whole, employers will strengthen their corporate family and overall success, which includes earning more profits to offset the costs of creating childcare and early education programs.
In the case of adding child care and school facilities into the mix, there are many ways such programs could be implemented, including basing enrollment and continued eligibility on a variety of factors, beginning with employee work performance. Oddsâ€¨ are greater care will go into every aspect of an employee’s daily activities knowing what’s riding on her or his performance. The privilege, flexibility, and decreased strain on families taking advantage of these opportunities won’t be taken lightly, and both employer and employees will benefit.
The potential to strengthen families as a whole while alleviating some of the overcrowding in our public schools, if enough companies adopt such in-house programs, is very real. Both factors only help to put the United States on a more positive, competitive, intelligent road toward tomorrow. It’s a ‘ripple effect’ that extends well beyond individual corporate subcultures and into our shared national community. Unless we all start living in pods, improving the lives of those who live alongside us is vitally important to our own welfare.
It’s widely agreed that mothers will move mountains for their children. Imagine what they would do for companies that help them be the moms they want to be. It’s hard to believe that so many companies are failing to recognize this basic truth.
Time to step it up, everyone!
Laura Wellington is a successful media and technology entrepreneur, award- winning television creator, author, major media blogger, television personality, and consultant. www.mamamediact.com; email@example.com