Member of Parliament (MP) for Tampines Cheng Li Hui proposed providing greater support for women trying to get pregnant, and allowing women in Singapore to voluntarily freeze their eggs here, in a speech at the Budget 2021 Debate on Thursday (Feb. 25).
Social egg freezing still prohibited
Currently, only women with justifiable medical conditions are allowed to freeze their eggs in Singapore but social egg freezing is prohibited.
For example, a woman who is about to undergo cancer treatment may freeze her eggs for future use.
Cheng proposed that voluntary egg freezing can be allowed in Singapore, with "legislation and proper framework put in place".
In a survey she conducted via Facebook, over 400 respondents shared their views regarding egg freezing, including some who were unaware that egg freezing was prohibited.
One respondent also shared that her daughter, who is in her twenties, froze her eggs in the United States before returning to Singapore, as it was still prohibited here for those who did not have justifiable medical conditions.
"It seemed like quite a number of ladies go overseas for social egg freezing," Cheng said. She asked:
"Is there room for a rethink of this long-standing policy of not allowing healthy female (sic) to freeze their eggs? Why do we create this environment where healthy women have to bear the cost and risk of doing this procedure overseas?"
Allow egg freezing, with legislation put in place
As part of her proposal, she suggested that mandatory counselling sessions could be put in place for women who intend to embark on the procedure, to fully inform them of the risks and financial costs they need to bear.
Other forms of legislation could be put in place to prevent the abuse of voluntary egg freezing, such as an age limit of 40, as the quality of the eggs deteriorate drastically beyond the age of 35, said Cheng.
The MP also suggested imposing a requirement that a woman must be legally married before egg thawing and fertilisation can take place.
Cheng also mentioned that the prohibition of voluntary egg freezing in Singapore meant that there is no eggs bank in the country.
This in turn means that women "of certain age", or those with poor eggs quality will need to source for donor eggs overseas, or opt for adoption.
Besides voluntary egg freezing, Cheng also proposed allowing couples to use Medisave for fertility health checks, and providing full subsidies for couples who go for the checks within the first three years of their marriage.
She also suggested extending help to healthy couples who are still looking to conceive a child through IVF, even if they have passed the age of 40, as such couples are currently not eligible for co-funding.
Top image via MCI/YouTube