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Social egg freezing

Type: Parliamentary Questions

Topic(s): Children & Families, Women Empowerment


Question

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) whether he can provide an update on the issue of social egg freezing; (b) whether the Ministryhas reviewed its policy to extend this procedure to everyone, and not only to certain individuals based on medical grounds; and (c) whether the Ministry is aware that a growing number of Singaporeans are going overseas to have their eggs or sperm preserved.

Answer

1 The Government supports and encourages Singaporeans to fulfil their marriage and parenthood goals as early as possible, to increase the chances of conceiving naturally and reduce age-related problems. Currently, licensed assisted reproduction centres in Singapore are only allowed to freeze eggs when there are medical reasons. For instance, before a woman undergoes chemotherapy treatment that will adversely affect her ability to have a child.

2 Some have asked that egg freezing procedures be extended beyond medical grounds. We are carefully reviewing this. Social egg freezing may benefit some women because of their personal circumstances, for example, they may not be able to find a partner when they are younger, but may want to preserve their chances of conceiving if they marry later.

3 However, we also have to take into account the ethical and social concerns over legalising social egg freezing, including inadvertently causing more to delay marriage or parenthood based on a misperception that they can have a child whenever they wish to. The risks of developing complications during pregnancy also increase with age, even if the child is conceived through a frozen egg.

4 The Ministry does not track or have information on the number of Singaporeans going overseas to have their eggs or sperm preserved.