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Facebook and Apple offer to pay for female employees’ eggs to be frozen

Facebook and Apple are offering to freeze their female employees' eggs (and we don't mean they're making room in the canteen chest freezers for half-dozen boxes of the finest free range).

This is freezing eggs as in cryropreserving oocytes, and the fertility procedure which allows a woman to keep her eggs frozen from a young age, so that she can (hopefully) then have a baby when she is older and less fertile.

It's a path that career-minded women can take to let them fully concentrate on building their career when they're younger, and something that evidently both Facebook and Apple think is worth stumping up for in terms of keeping those career women active in their jobs, and making money for the company.

Related: Facebook admits white males dominate company: Push for diversity underway

It's not a cheap procedure, either – you're looking at around $10,000 (£6,200) per cycle of egg freezing, with storage costs running $500 (£310) per year (virtual eggs in cloud storage would probably be much cheaper, and more flexible and scalable – you'd only worry about their security, though). Then it's a further $5,000 (£3,100) for the egg thaw, fertilisation and embryo transfer procedure.

NBC News reports that Facebook already offers the service to employees, and Apple will initiate a similar scheme at the start of 2015. It's thought it could help tech firms in the battle to recruit talented women, or that's certainly the hope, particularly in the light of all the recent coverage about how much the industry is skewed towards men.

Read more: Apple releases diversity report showing 70 per cent of staff are men

Of course, the freezing procedure isn't guaranteed, so women have to bear that in mind as well, and there are question marks as to exactly how long eggs can be kept frozen while still maintaining a reasonable expectation of results.