Recent offerings from Apple and Facebook to pay for the cost of oocyte cryopreservation as an elective benefit for their female employees are being applauded by some gynecologists and fertility experts as a way to provide women with the ability to choose when they want to have children. Others, however, are more cautious, saying that there isn't sufficient evidence to support the procedure's widespread use.
"This technology is a game changer," said Andrew Toledo, MD, of Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta, who added that offering it as an employee benefit is "forward-looking."
Jennifer Erin Hirshfeld-Cytron, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist with the Fertility Centers of Illinois, also applauded the new company benefits. "For women in whom having children is a strong need, this provides a viable option," she said.
The announcements from both companies come on the heels of a 2013 joint statement by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) that oocyte cryopreservation should no longer be considered experimental. The guideline, however, also states that "there are not yet sufficient data to recommend oocyte cryopreservation for the sole purpose of circumventing reproductive aging in healthy women." The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) agrees and stated in a committee opinion paper that there is not yet sufficient evidence to support egg freezing in women who wish to delay childbearing for nonmedical reasons.
One thing that everyone can agree on, however, is that having companies foot the bill for egg freezing takes one huge barrier off the table: cost.
Medscape Ob/Gyn © 2014 WebMD, LLC
Cite this: Mary Beth Nierengarten. Egg Freezing as an Employee Benefit? Gynecologists Have Mixed Views - Medscape - Nov 24, 2014.