Letter to the Editor | How SG Govt can help women cope with high costs of egg freezing

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Dear Editor,

I read with great interest Jewel Storlachuk’s article entitled: “More Singapore women turn to egg freezing, but high cost may be prohibitive” (Dec 26, 2023).

Egg freezing is indeed expensive, and the high costs may hinder many women from freezing their eggs at younger ages when their egg quality is optimal for ensuring their future reproductive success. Hence, it is imperative that the Government consider various means of helping women cope with the high costs of the procedure.

Direct Government subsidies are difficult to justify because egg freezing is non-essential for the sustenance of either health or life. Nevertheless, various other options can be considered.

First, the Government should consider allowing the utilization of CPF Medisave for elective egg freezing, as in the case of IVF treatment in Singapore.

Second, the Government can consider permitting “Freeze and Share” schemes whereby the medical fees of egg freezers are heavily subsidized by infertile IVF patients in return for donating some of their eggs (before freezing). Such a scheme has already been operating in some countries such as the USA and UK for several years. The advantage of such a scheme is that there are no additional costs to Government coffers, as subsidies come directly from IVF patients receiving egg donations.

Moreover, Freeze and Share schemes can also help overcome the persistent shortage of egg donors for infertile IVF patients in Singapore.

Third, the Government can consider providing low-interest rate loans to women freezing their eggs, similar to current Government loans for university tuition fees and public housing that are pegged to CPF interest rates.

Fourth, the Government can encourage local companies in Singapore to consider sponsoring elective egg freezing for their female employees as a corporate perk to attract and retain human capital. Indeed, this is already practised by tech giants such as Apple, Google and Facebook within the USA. Perhaps the Singapore Government can take the lead by sponsoring egg freezing for female civil servants.

Last, the Government can also consider allowing egg freezers who donate their unused frozen eggs to be refunded medical fees by recipient IVF patients. In this case, ethical problems associated with undue financial inducements and commercial egg trading are not applicable because these women are just being reimbursed for medical fees they had already spent.

Dr Alexis Heng Boon Chin
Associate Professor,
Peking University, China

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Independent Singapore.

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