Being a woman means that making permanent decisions about reproduction must occur within a time frame that, for many of us, predates a time frame when we can be trusted to responsibly select an appropriate paint color for the living room (not terra cotta. It makes being in the living room feel like slowly going insane in 1987). I'm no science expert, but to paraphrase the ever-shrieking media, if you're a woman, unless you have babies by the time you're 35, your boobs deflate and your butt explodes. Or something.
To combat the inevitable diminishing of fertility, many women opt to freeze their eggs — a painful, time-consuming procedure that's not even guaranteed to work. And it's expensive as hell, too. Ozy's Pooja Bhatia finds all of this terribly unfair, and suggests that, since women must bear the physical cost of fertility, it's unfair to expect them to bear the financial cost as well. She writes,
There’s a strong evolutionary argument that your family should chip in, as suggested every time your parents ask when you’re going to settle down and give them some grandchildren. Their selfish genes wish to propagate, so why don’t they help?
There’s also an argument that the government should chip in with subsidies — or tax credits or deductions — to help women fund the cost of a procedure that arguably will provide a future benefit to society, in terms of their spawn.
Okay, I love the idea of costs of bearing a "family" being split by the two adults who agreed to form the family unit. Fine. And maybe the arrangements Bhatia suggests — parental aid or non-father partner aid or government aid — might sound pretty nice for a woman who doesn't want to cough up like $AUTOMOBILE to maybe have the option to have kids someday. But these are not practical ideas. Can you imagine going out with a guy who didn't want kids, and you're all, OK buddy, that will be $1,000 per year for the privilege of not knocking me up? Can you imagine government subsidies for women who don't think they'll be ready for kids until they're 40. Meanwhile, schools. And, like, all the other problems. Literally every other problem. I'd have serious moral reservations with being compelled to subsidize egg freezing as long as there are hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care and a woeful school funding situation.
The most realistic (and, yet, scary) Help Me Freeze Mah Eggs scenario was covered in the Times last year in a piece about rich people who save up nest eggs for... their daughters' eggs. According to the piece, parents of aging powerdaughters are so "desperate for grandchildren" that they often foot part — or all — of their daughters' five figure egg freezing bill. The grandkidsicles will ostensibly sit in a freezer somewhere until that magical day in the future with the daughter is ready to be inseminated.
So, for the foreseeable future, women who are not Of Means or from a family that is Of Means and desperate for grandchildren will have to fit the bill for egg freezing themselves.
Besides, that "declining fertility" thing is kind of a myth. Didn't you read that Atlantic article?