Australian IVF company is subsidising the costs of egg freezing for its employees, following the lead of Silicon Valley giants Facebook and Apple.

An Australian fertility company is subsidising employees who want to freeze their eggs, saying it helps them remain in the workforce during the most productive time of their careers.

But critics have suggested the concept, pioneered in the US, is a ploy to keep women tied to their jobs.

US tech giants Facebook and Apple provide female employees with up to $US20,000 ($A21,639) for egg freezing procedures and annual storage costs, NBC reports.

Australian fertility network Virtus Health says it currently helps its employees if they require fertility treatment and will extend this to egg freezing.

The majority of the company’s 900 staff are women.

“What we’re planning to do is assist our female employees who want egg freezing, rather like Apple and Facebook,” said Dr David Molloy, of Queensland Fertility Group, which is owned by Virtus Health.

“Unfortunately some of the most productive professional time that women have is going to be in their 20s and 30s and that’s of course their best peak reproductive times,” he said.

“One of the greatest challenges faced by women competing effectively in the work place is the fact that competition occurs in the best reproductive years.

“Egg freezing does give them some opportunity to level the professional playing field.”

However Nitasha Tiku, writing on ValleyWay, a blog about Silicon Valley, described it as “perhaps the most fascinating example of what’s behind America’s unbalanced work-is-life mindset”.

She wrote: “The perk enforces Silicon Valley’s obsessive work mentality and gender progress – so, in this case, women can have it all”.

Dr Molloy described the comments as “incredibly patronising”.

“My interaction with women who are doing this is that they are intelligent, forceful, successful individuals and indeed that’s the reason that they might need to egg freeze,” he said.

“To imply that they’re sort of falling for some sort of trick and don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand what this means is an appalling statement.”