Aimee Eyvazzadeh is a human being who calls herself "the egg whisperer." And she wants to make "egg-freezing parties" -- a recent trend at expensive New York bars -- a thing in San Francisco, too.
"I thought it would be a fun way to promote fertility awareness before it’s too late," Eyvazzadeh, who is a reproductive endocrinologist, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Women who attend her parties -- she's planned a trio of them for interested women who want to stop by after work -- get a 10 percent discount should they decide to spend the roughly $15,000 it costs to freeze and store one's eggs.
Women who host one of their own egg-freezing parties get an even larger discount. One such party carries a $20 entry fee.
The offers, as the Chronicle notes, could pair well with some of the benefits offered by some of the high-powered Silicon Valley employers in the area. Apple will start covering egg freezing next year, telling the paper in a statement: "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." Facebook already offers $20,000 in coverage for several fertility-related procedures.
The parties even have their own Twitter account:
— EggFreezingParty (@eggfreezeparty) November 5, 2014
Slate described the follow-up marketing aimed at women who attended that party:
Since the mid-September event, company “patient advocates” have aggressively emailed the women who attended, offering special financing plans and a $500 discount for signing up by the end of the month. “Hoping to help you chill and have no regrets!” went a typical follow-up email. “The future you will thank you!
The article points to a 2013 piece from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine that cautions against "marketing this technology for the purpose of deferring childbearing ... there is concern regarding the success rates in women in the late reproductive years who may be the most interested in this application." The ASRM stopped calling the procedure "experimental" that same year.
But it's easy to see why companies marketing the procedure to busy, well-to-do women might think these happy hours are potentially effective marketing tools.
In a much more innocent time in my life, I went to a Longaberger party while staying with a nice, middle-age couple in Maine. Based on that experience, I know that a Longaberger party involves cake, soda, coffee and lots of Longaberger baskets for sale. I had a good time! But I did not buy any baskets.
Longaberger parties are what happen when the Tupperware party market is saturated, but a woven basket shortage remains. The parties are so out of fashion these days that there is an entire forum on QVC.com from 2012 discussing how passe the parties -- and the baskets -- are.
I haven't been to an egg-freezing party. But based on my extensive Longaberger party experience, I can conclude that an egg-freezing party is a Longaberger party, but with much wealthier women, and alcohol. Oh, and the host is trying to sell you a surgery that requires several preparatory hormone injections, and not a basket or another vaguely yonic vessel, like Tupperware.
As Citylab notes, most health insurance companies treat egg freezing as an elective procedure, implying that only the quite well-off would be able to purchase what these parties are selling. Which, again, is a surgical procedure.