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

Ms Kimberly Unwin of Fertility Support SG pointed out that the news is also more relevant to younger women, compared to older women who may already be facing fertility issues.

“For our community, the most important thing is that it is peace of mind, for their daughters in the future 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. Now that the opportunity to freeze your eggs is there, go ahead and grab it,” she added.

She also encouraged women and their partners to get fertility checkups, to check if they may have other fertility issues beyond age and egg count.

“As much as egg freezing is an option, it’s also very important to stay healthy and make sure you know what kind of problems you may have in terms of body checks,” said Ms Unwin.

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

There is also criticism that allowing elective egg freezing can give women false hope and cause them to delay starting a family, the founder of the Instagram page @myeggsmytime Emma Zhang acknowledged.

However, most women who choose to freeze their eggs would have done their own research and would also have to undergo mandatory counseling, he said.

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“I don’t think any educated woman who has this procedure comes out the other side thinking 100% that I’m definitely going to have a child,” Ms. Zhang said.

All of the women CNA spoke with recognized that cost is also an important factor in choosing egg freezing.

A round of the procedure in Singapore will likely cost 10,000 to 12,000 Singapore dollars, Dr. Tung said.

Older women may need to retrieve more eggs, and the cost will increase with more rounds of retrieval, he added.

This is still likely to be cheaper than going abroad for the procedure, without accommodation and flight costs, Ms. Zhang noted.

“How many people over the age of 20 can afford fertility treatments? We are very interested in how the government will step in, because grants are now only available through government hospitals and are only available to married couples,” said Ms Unwin.

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

Elective egg freezing is a type of “fertility insurance” that gives women the option to have children a little later, especially in Singapore, where many people want to be successful professionally, Ms. Zhang said.

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

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