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27 Hastings Women's L.J. 341 (2016)
Empty Benefits: Employer-Sponsored Oocyte Cryopreservation and Potential for Employment Discrimination

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         Empty Benefits: Employer-Sponsored Oocyte

      Cryopreservation and Potential for Employment

                                                      Discrimination


                                                      By  Ali  L. Nicolette   *



                            INTRODUCTION

    Companies   such  as Apple and  Facebook  are beginning  to follow large
law firms' in offering their young female employees oocyte
cryopreservation  (egg-freezing) options as a perk  for employment.   The
offer is enticing: freeze your  eggs while  you  (and  they) are young  and
healthy,  work  your  way  up  in  the company,   and  then  have  the eggs
fertilized and implanted when  you are financially stable and ready to start a
family.2   Postponing  pregnancy,  whether   through  egg-freezing  or other


    *J.D. Candidate, Class of 2016, University of California, Hastings College of the Law;
Co-Editor-in-Chief, Hastings Women's Law Journal; Lawyers for America Fellow at
Disability Rights California.
   1. Danielle Friedman, Perk Up: Facebook and Apple Now Pay for Women to Freeze
Eggs, NBC.coM  (Oct. 14, 2014, 1:48 AM), http://www.nbcnews.coml/news/us-news/perk-
facebook-apple-now-pay-women-freeze-eggs-n225011 (advocates say they've heard
murmurs of large law, consulting, and finance firms helping to cover the costs, but no
companies are broadcasting this support); Elie Mystal, Should Egg Freezing Be A Fringe
Benefit Offered By Your Firm?,  ABOVE  THE  LAW  (Apr. 22, 2013), http://above
thelaw.com/2013/04/should-egg-freezing-be-a-fringe-benefit-offered-by-your-firm/;  see
also Nadia Daneshvar, The Cold Truth Behind Employer-Covered Social Egg-freezing, ON
THE  EDGES  OF  SCIENCE  AND  LAW   (Mar. 17,  2014), http://blogs.kentlaw.iit.edu
/islat/2014/03/17/the-cold-truth-behind-employer-covered-social-egg- freezing/.
   2. The second-wave of feminism (lasting through the 1980s) brought new opportunities
for women and the idea that women can have it all became synonymous with the work-
life balance of career and family. See Sue Thornham, Second Wave Feminism, in THE
ROUTLEDGE COMPANION  TO FEMINISM AND POSTFEMINISM 25 (Sarah Gamble, ed., 2002); but
see Nado Aveling, 'Having It All' and the Discourse of Equal Opportunity: reflections on
choices and changing perceptions, 14(3) GEND. AND EDUC. 265, 265 (2002) (article
analyzes earlier study that showed the combination of the demands of small children with
the pressures of a challenging job was forcing women to put their careers on hold. While
these women  have demonstrated that they can succeed on male terms, a number of
competing discourses, coupled with a workplace culture that enshrined male patterns of
participation as the norm, ensured that their work patterns essentially replicated the


HASTINGS WOMEN'S LAW JOURNAL


341

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