Quick - are you planning to get your kid a card for graduation? Maybe a couple bucks or a bookshelf or something? Well, prepare for an awkward smile in return because all the cool kids are all getting human egg-freezing procedures. The scene these days is all about gifting your daughter the gift that keeps on freezing: an expensive egg-preserving procedure so she can lean in into her 40's (50's! BEYOND!) and never have to think about her fertility in pursuit of a "free" career. Yes, the talk this week is about rich parents who instead of giving their daughters a cars for graduation, extend their childbearing years instead.
Business Week said take that to Time today and unleashed thee provocative cover of 2014. Are You Mom Enough is dead sauce, guys. It's over.
Problems. So many of them.
1. Giving another adult who is not your partner a fertility treatment as a gift seems a little . . . presumptive. What, you don't think she can find a husband now that she missed all her chances with the guys in undergrad? Okay, Princeton Mom.
And talk about pressure. Maybe the daughter still has dreams she'll be a normal American bore like the rest of us and work a mediocre job until she and her future husband realize that financially her job makes no sense and she should just stay home what with the cost of daycare. BUT NO. Here you are, like, "take over Google, honey! Become President! Fly to Mars! SMILE AND TWINKLE AND DANCE AND MAKE MOMMY PROUD!" Um, if someone would have frozen my eggs at 22, I would have just felt like a loser when my income never reached six digits and I ended up like, peace out, job market.
Foreshadowing: Egg-freezing is a fake solution to a real problem.
2. Who can afford this gamble? So your daughter is 22 and you freeze her eggs, but then she meets a baby daddy and has a baby, like, two years later. Or ten years later. Maybe she just has natural kids whenever the opportunity and urge strike, kind of like everyone else in this little sea boat of life. It looks like you wasted your ten grand, old folks. You should have put it in the slots.
3. Let's say you are a 50-year-old CEO (high five!) and now you're ready to have that baby your parents have been keeping for you in the fridge since college graduation. How will you advertise this fertility to the guys you meet? I'm not saying 50-year-olds aren't totally smoking' hot. As a matter of fact some of the coolest, smartest, hottest ladies I know are over 50. However, that's not normally the life stage when people are interested in Boppys and spit-up. If you find yourself in the rather unique situation of wanting to start a family at that time, I just wonder how you will find like-minded guys without that being a super awkward opener. "Hi! Disregard the wisdom in my eyes, I have the eggs of of a college girl."
I'm just saying that usually guys who have any inklings of fatherhood on the horizon are going to assume a woman nearing the normal age of menopause isn't packin' her genes away in the fridge. (Yes, dudes do want to become fathers. They are not just out to bone. Well, not all of the time.)
4. Parents buying their kids egg-freezing procedures kind of seems like millenial helicopter parenting gone insane. Companies are already calling young professionals' parents and now these aging hovercrafts are running the frozen grand baby circuit? Dear 20-somethings: Run! Hide! Get your own damn apartment and if you can't, well . . . maybe you can just embrace it. Be the generation who never leaves at all. Give in. Have your babies now, wait out the economy while your parents spend that $10k doting on your offspring and then jump into the CEO game when the kiddies are in school. Who would have thought hover-parents would be a solution to women's barriers in the workplace? Deeeeep thouugggghhhhts.
5. Delaying child-bearing does nothing to solve problems women face in the "have it all" arena. This solution is predicated on being rich to begin with. The usual barriers to women's advancement in the workplace are the prohibitive costs of childcare, lack of adequate maternity leave, paternity leave existing altogether and inflexibility of companies when it comes to family issues. Kid gets sick? Kid has off for summer? Kid does kid things after school and needs a parent present? Too bad, so sad, says the current American employers - which is why the rigors of raising a family often come down to logistics and finances that edge women out. I didn't opt-out, I was edged out and the women paying tens of thousands of dollars to delay having families are going to find the same pitfalls when their time comes too.
There's nothing wrong with spending your money any way you please. If you want to ask Santa to freeze your eggs at 18 with plans to thaw them at 60, knock yourself out. What's frustrating is the media is focusing on this as a solution to women in the workforce when it's a solution only available to the rich who plan to get richer. Where are the solutions to childcare, the abysmal state of maternity and paternity leave and work solutions for the mainstream mom?
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