Sunday, October 19, 2014

Is Facebook exploiting young women by paying for their egg freezing ?

I was very impressed by the recent news that Facebook and Apple  have agreed to pay for egg freezing for their employees. I thought this was a very positive step, as it allowed young women more reproductive autonomy. By feezing their eggs , they now have more control over planning their life, and could choose to postpone childbearing, without compromising their fertility or increasing their risk of having a baby with a birth defect. I felt this was a very enlightened move, which would help to create employee loyalty.

I was therefore very surprised to read that some health activists felt that this was a retrogressive step. They were painting it as being anti-feminist, because they believed these companies were interfering  with their employees plans to start a family. These people felt that companies wanted to manipulate young women so as to extract the most of their productive working years, by asking them to postpone child-bearing . It was being positioned as a " artificial reproductive technology to boost capitalistic productivity" versus " natural reproduction  " debate. They claimed that the move was ethically wrong, as children needed mothers who were young; and that  asking women to bear children at a later age would lead to more medical complications as well.

I believe this is a very good move , and is very ethical as it allows women more control over their reproductive options. Egg freezing allows women to ensure that biology is no longer destiny ! Just like birth control allows women more control over when to have babies and how many to have , egg freezing allows women more options as to when to have a baby. It allows them more flexibility in having both a career and a baby, so that they can have their cake , and eat it too.

In fact, not allowing them this option is unethical in my opinion. Why should women be forced to have babies at a particular age ?  Our poor grandmothers were forced to have baby after baby , because she did not have the option of using birth control ! Just like contraception allows women more control over their life, so does assisted reproductive technology.

Also, older mothers are often better mothers because they are more mature; more stable; financially better off; and settled in life. The organisation is not interfering - it is simply allowing women the freedom to choose for themselves. After all, they aren't forcing them to freeze their eggs !

Since the eggs are young, the risk of pregnancy complications are not increased, as long as the woman is healthy. Her calendar age is not an issue - it's her physical health

I think these critics are falling into the trap of underestimating these women. They are very smart
( after all, they are working at Apple and Facebook ! ). They are very capable of making up their own mind and this is an empowering move in my opinion ! These are very personal decisions which are best made by the women involved themselves - and we should respect their right to do so !

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