Monthly Archives: November 2014
In Silicon Valley, where many tech employees put in long hours, Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh wants women to think about freezing their eggs — after work, and over drinks.
The fertility expert is hosting three informational events this week, called egg freezing parties, at restaurants in the Bay Area. Over wine and appetizers, a small group of women will learn more about the egg freezing process and there will be experts to help with any questions.
Eyvazzadeh, who calls herself “The Egg Whisperer,” is jumping on growing interest in preserving eggs in Silicon Valley, as some tech companies have decided to make the procedure a standard health benefit for a young workforce that is faced with the decision on whether to delay parenthood.
At the egg freezing parties this week, women who attend will get a 10 percent off coupon on a future procedure. If someone hosts their own version of the party and includes Eyvazzadeh, the host will get a significant discount.
“It’s the 2014 version of the Tupperware party,” Eyvazzadeh said. “I thought it would be a fun way to promote fertility awareness before it’s too late.”
An added benefit at some tech companies
More tech companies are offering perks for parenthood in order to keep employees happy. Facebook already covers up to $20,000 for several procedures, including egg freezing, and also offers other benefits for parents, including giving $4,000 in “baby cash” for each child born. Meanwhile, Apple plans to include egg freezing and storage as part of items covered by its health insurance policy next year.
“We want to empower women at Apple to do the best work of their lives as they care for loved ones and raise their families,” Apple said in a statement.
The extra benefits could also help companies too, analysts said.
“They are bringing a lot of these women who are graduating from college with very high level coding degrees and they really want them to work … during their younger years, knowing full well that once they get a family, the pressure on them are very different,” said Tim Bajarin, president of advisory services firm Creative Strategies. “What this does is it gives these women another level of choice.”
Innovative marketing tool
Several women gathered at Eyvazzadeh’s first egg freezing party at Piperade in San Francisco. Women sipped on wine and munched on appetizers like prosciutto and shrimp as they learned that the doctor would ideally collect seven eggs to have a chance for one live birth.
“This is what an egg looks like,” Eyvazzadeh said, referring to a photo of a human egg in her slideshow.
She explained how collecting those eggs requires a surgery.
“When a woman freezes her egg, you can’t give her a cup and (tell her to) go watch a sexy movie,” the doctor said. “There’s a bit more involved.”
In general, the procedure works something like this. A woman injects herself with hormones in the skin of her midsection every night for ten nights. Then, the woman under goes a procedure in which a doctor collects her eggs. Those eggs are then frozen and stored. The cost of freezing eggs in general could be roughly $15,000, Eyvazzadeh said. That’s compared to spending well over $30,000 to find an egg donor when you’re 40, she added.
Attendees at the egg freezing party said they liked the relaxed atmosphere, talking about fertility over a glass of wine at a restaurant instead of inside a doctor’s office.
“I enjoyed listening to the presentation and I learned a lot,” said Elizabeth Leitner, a 22-year-old scientist at a biotech firm in Emeryville.
Alec Levenson, a senior research scientist and labor economist at USC’s Marshall School of Business, called the egg freezing parties “innovative.”
“It’s another example of what marketers have always known,” Levenson said. “If you can get people to refer something by word of mouth to friends and family, it’s a much more effective marketing method than trying to do something through general advertising.”
A family profession
Eyvazzadeh, an OBGYN and reproductive endocrinologist, says she was born for this job. Her grandmother was a midwife and her grandfather and father were OBGYNs. She’s also the mother of three young children.
“It’s a party every single day,” Eyvazzadeh says of parenthood. “I want everyone to join the party who wants to.”
The doctor has also gone to her fair share of Tupperware-like parties. She’s been to ones thrown by friends, where they catch up and browse jewelry or clothes with no pressure to buy. The egg freezing parties were her own spin on those events. She’s paying for the event out of her own pocket.
“When I go to a party, I love talking about what I do for work,” Eyvazzadeh said. “I like hanging out with people. What if I get women, who actually want to hear what I want to say?”
Scott Strazzante / The Chronicle
on November 10, 2014 7:39 PM