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Tech giants to freeze eggs for their female employees

Pregnant woman's bump Image copyright PA
Image caption Apple and Facebook are offering to help women put off pregnancy until later in their careers

Women working for Facebook and Apple are being offered an additional perk: they can have their eggs frozen.

Facebook has been offering the service for its employees in the US since the start of this year.

The policy is designed to attract and keep top female talent, by helping them avoid having to choose between motherhood and professional progression.

Apple will follow suit from January 2015.

"We continue to expand our benefits for women, with a new extended maternity leave policy, along with cryopreservation and egg storage as part of our extensive support for infertility treatment," Apple said in a statement.

Both companies are offering up to $20,000 (£12,500) for US employees covered by their insurance plans, to finance the procedure to extract the eggs and for their storage.

"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's statement said.

'More control'

The competition for recruiting talented staff in Silicon Valley is fierce and the policy may help technology giants attract and retain the best candidates.

There has also been growing pressure on firms to increase diversity in the male-dominated sector.

Jennifer Tye, head of marketing for Glow, a technology company offering women services to control their reproductive health, welcomed the new policies.

"Egg freezing gives women more control," she said.

"When I turned 30, I had this notion that my biological clock was ticking, but I didn't know what my options were.

"These employers should be commended."

However other commentators suggested the companies should instead focus on offering more flexibility and support for new parents.

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