‘I’ll have a alternative’: Women welcome elective egg freezing transfer, despite age limit and cost concerns

SINGAPORE: When she heard that ladies in Singapore aged 21 to 35 would be capable to freeze their eggs from subsequent yr, Ms Wennie Kwo screamed and jumped for pleasure. 

“It’s really a lot of feelings … too much excitement,” the 34-year-old informed CNA. 

Ms Kwo, who’s not too long ago divorced, was planning to go to Australia to freeze her eggs there earlier than Singapore introduced it will enable the process. 

“Because of this (the divorce), I deliberate for egg freezing. I felt very unhappy and annoyed that Singapore banned egg freezing, so girls like myself needed to search for different options in overseas nations. 

“But this came just in time, because I am 35 next year and just hit the maximum age.” 

She is now single however Ms Kwo mentioned she actually likes youngsters. “That’s why I need to preserve my eggs,” she added. 

At the beginning of April, the Government endorsed the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development, which proposed to permit girls aged 21 to 35 in Singapore to freeze their eggs no matter their marital standing.

The transfer was proposed with “sufficient safeguards” to make sure that the ladies make an knowledgeable alternative. For instance, girls who want to endure the process have to endure counselling, and solely legally married {couples} will be capable to use the frozen eggs for procreation. 

Currently, egg freezing in Singapore is barely permitted for medical causes. This contains, for instance, situations the place the therapy is understood to have an effect on fertility, or situations the place the danger of ovarian most cancers requires the removing of ovaries and fallopian tubes. 

With the Government’s endorsement of the White Paper, elective egg freezing might be carried out with the introduction of the Assisted Reproduction Services Regulations beneath the Healthcare Services Act in early 2023. 

For girls like Ms Kwo who wish to have youngsters however are nonetheless on the lookout for a companion, or youthful girls who see egg freezing as a approach to maintain their choices open and deal with their profession first, that is excellent news. 

Marketing govt Shadia Afrin, 25, is considering of freezing her eggs. She has no plans to get married or begin a household for at the very least the following 5 to seven years, she informed CNA, describing herself as a career-driven individual. 

“I don’t think I’m going to get married or have a baby at the moment, so egg freezing is a good thing. It won’t stop me from the things I want in life, I don’t have to make the sacrifice (for my career), and I’ll have a choice,” she added. 

Although Ms Shadia is conscious that egg freezing and in-vitro fertilisation don’t assure that she is going to conceive later in life, it nonetheless provides her hope that her probabilities might be higher. 

“I have a lot of friends or colleagues and they’re at the age, 30 plus, and they have no plans at the moment for having a baby. And I have other colleagues in their 40s, but they can’t conceive a baby because of the fact that they didn’t get married and were focused on their career.” 

For girls of their 20s like herself, egg freezing provides them an alternative choice in the event that they wish to attempt and conceive youngsters sooner or later, mentioned Ms Shadia, including that she is going to in all probability endure the process in about two to 3 years’ time. 

Ms Fareeshah Dawood Epeer, who turns 30 this yr, began contemplating her choices about two to 3 years in the past, in case she decides she does wish to have youngsters sooner or later. 

“Because you don’t want to rush into these things like getting married, then if it doesn’t pan out it leads to a messy involvement, especially if there are kids involved,” she added. 

After some analysis, she was initially disillusioned to search out that elective egg freezing was not an choice in Singapore on the time, and began taking a look at abroad choices. 

“When I got to know that Singapore will be allowing this option for women, it’s definitely good news. It’s better to do it in Singapore because you’re somewhat guaranteed in terms of the safety for women when you’re doing this kind of procedure,” mentioned Ms Fareeshah. 

With Singapore’s good healthcare system, medical issues are additionally much less probably, mentioned the early childhood educator. 

“I was definitely happy and relieved. It’s always nice when your home country actually allows for it. It also makes it a lot more accessible because if you do it overseas there’s a lot of things you have to bear in mind like the overhead costs.” 

Ms Fareeshah was planning to freeze her eggs abroad by the point she turned 31 or 32, and her mother and father are supportive of her choice. With the announcement, she plans to do it in Singapore as quickly as doable. 

Despite the excellent news, she was “a little bit disappointed” that ladies have to be legally married to make use of the frozen eggs in Singapore. 

“For me, it’s not too much of a problem because I do see wanting to have kids with a partner. But I think for some of my friends who may be LGBTQ, it may not turn out well for them,” mentioned Ms Fareeshah.  

“It’s a step in the right direction. But I think the clause that says women have to be legally married, it seems a little bit too conservative in today’s time.” 

Ms Kwo, who plans to freeze her eggs in Singapore subsequent yr when she is 35, can also be contemplating going to Australia for a second spherical of egg freezing the yr after, since she would have exceeded the age limit in Singapore then.

“It’s actually quite sad that the Government placed an age limit, because those who really consider egg freezing are usually older and more mature, and financially more stable,” mentioned Ms Kwo. 

“And they also hope they have the chance to get pregnant, and just that maybe their current conditions don’t allow. Maybe they’re single like me, or not ready for pregnancy, or want to focus on their career.” 

In the previous yr, extra feminine sufferers of their mid-30s have been asking in regards to the egg freezing process in comparison with about three years in the past, mentioned fertility specialist Dr Janice Tung. 

About one or two girls are available every week with enquiries about elective egg freezing, she added. 

“They’re very worried about the fact that (they are) not getting any younger. They are aware that there is a biological clock … but they don’t want to settle down for the sole purpose of having kids,” mentioned Dr Tung. 

“This gives them the option of still preserving their fertility somewhat, and still allowing them to not be pressured into marriage before they’re ready.” 

When requested about who can be good candidates for egg freezing, Dr Tung raised an instance of a 26-year-old lady who has came upon that her anti-mullerian hormone, or AMH, ranges are low despite her comparatively younger age. 

An AMH check is a helpful indicator of eggs remaining in a lady’s ovarian reserve. A girl with low AMH ranges is prone to have a decrease egg depend. 

“She’s a good candidate for egg freezing, because the count can only get worse in the future. If you freeze the eggs now, you’re likely to need less eggs to possibly achieve pregnancy, because of the quality of the eggs being better. So that is in her interest if she can freeze her eggs,” mentioned Dr Tung, including that IVF afterward in life will even be harder with out the frozen eggs. 

She additionally careworn that being pregnant after age 40 will nonetheless be harder, despite utilizing a youthful egg that was frozen from earlier than. 

Ms Kimberly Unwin from Fertility Support SG famous that the information can also be extra related to youthful girls, in comparison with older girls who might already be going through fertility points. 

“For our community, the biggest thing is that it’s reassurance, for their daughters ahead or daughters-in-law in the future, they will tell them ‘go freeze your eggs’ at a very young age. Don’t leave it to chance, it doesn’t matter if you want to get married later on. Now that the opportunity to freeze your eggs is there, go and take it,” she added. 

She additionally inspired girls and their companions to get checkups for his or her fertility, to verify if they could have different fertility points past the age and depend of their eggs. 

“As much as egg freezing is an option, keeping healthy and making sure you know what kind of problems that you may have in terms of body checkups is also very important,” mentioned Ms Unwin. 

“It doesn’t mean that your eggs are frozen, you can just not care about your lifestyle, your health, and all that kind of stuff, because those will have effects on conceiving the child later on life.” 

There can also be criticism that permitting elective egg freezing might give girls false hope and trigger them to delay beginning a household, acknowledged founding father of Instagram web page @myeggsmytime Emma Zhang. 

However, most girls who select to freeze their eggs would have completed their very own analysis, and they might additionally have to endure obligatory counselling, she mentioned. 

“I don’t think that any educated women going into this procedure will come out on the other side thinking 100 per cent I’m definitely going to have a kid,” mentioned Ms Zhang. 

All the ladies CNA spoke to acknowledged that cost can also be a massive think about choosing egg freezing. 

One spherical of the process in Singapore will in all probability cost between S$10,000 to S$12,000, mentioned Dr Tung. 

Older girls might have to extract extra eggs, and the cost will rise with extra rounds of extraction, she added. 

This remains to be prone to be cheaper than going abroad for the process, with out lodging and flight prices, famous Ms Zhang. 

“How many 20-plus year olds can afford fertility treatments? We’re very interested to know how the Government will come in, because grants now are only available through government hospitals, and it’s only available for married couples,” mentioned Ms Unwin. 

Some girls spend about S$20,000 on the egg freezing course of alone, which is “a lot of money”, she added. “Will these young ladies be able to afford it if there are no grants available?” 

Elective egg freezing is a kind of “fertility insurance” that provides girls the choice to have youngsters a bit later, particularly in Singapore the place many individuals need profession success, mentioned Ms Zhang. 

“Right now, my priorities might not be having kids, and it’s just not fair that I need to make that decision. Have children now or have my career, have kids now or not be able to take care of my parents. For a lot of women, there are many factors that come into play,” she added. 

“At the end of the day it is about women’s rights, and the freedom of choice to decide what we want to do with our bodies.” 

'I'll have a choice': Women welcome elective egg freezing move, despite age limit and cost concerns

Ang Hwee Min

Source : channelnewsasia.com

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