Thursday , September 23 2021

The dilemma of freezing of women's eggs in Singapore

SINGAPUR: Time is not on the side of Ruby Tiyu's marriage planner. Her biological clock is ticking, and she has been deliberating about the freezing of her eggs since her 30s.

"I'm not getting younger. I can not wait another two, three years," said the boy of 36 years. "Also, I do not know when I'm going to meet a couple … and the job is crazy, the stress does not help, so many factors."

Egg freezing has become a requested procedure: with countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Australia and the United Kingdom, with well-established programs, said Dr. Yeong Cheng Toh of the Virtus Fertility Center of Singapore.

And some women are betting on the time of buying science for their fertility while they seek to progress in their career while planning a family later.

READ: "Do it for myself": women who freeze eggs to increase their chances of drawing

But in Singapore, the freezing of eggs is only allowed for medical reasons. This leaves women like Mrs. Tiyu is a dilemma, since the Talking Point program finds out about some social and moral aspects of this reproductive technology. (See the episode here.)

freezing eggs

An embryologist processes eggs to prepare them for freezing in a California laboratory. (Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck)


One of his first questions, when he recently decided to explore his options with a fertility doctor – and knew he would have to freeze his eggs abroad – was about the safety of the places where eggs are placed.

Another question about the freezing of eggs lies in the time that eggs are preserved. In the United Kingdom, they are 10 years old, with exceptions made only for women with certain conditions, such as a premature ovarian failure, Dr. Yeong said.

"This means that it can not produce more eggs," explained the gynecologist and reproductive endocrinologist consultant. However, he said that a legal struggle in the United Kingdom has begun to extend the 10-year limit for all.

A technician opens a container that contains frozen eggs of women in Amsterdam.

A technician opens a container that contains frozen eggs of women in Amsterdam. (Photo: AFP / Lex Van Lieshout)

After the consultation, Mrs. Tiyu said: "I need to do more research to think about what I can do as a woman who lives in Singapore and what will be my next step."

She believes that freezing eggs is a reproductive right, as do many women. Dr. Yeong also thinks that one of the reasons that younger women want to freeze eggs is that "medical technology has reached a peak where it is really safe."

"It is sufficiently robust to say:" I promise that if I had to freeze its eggs, it will be as good as having fresh eggs, "he said.


However, freezing eggs gives women a false sense of safety about their fertility? One of the things that women should consider, the suggested biomedical ethics researcher, Voo Teck Chuan, are the possibilities of using these eggs for their reproduction in the future.


Photo of the in vitro fertilization file, in which eggs of a woman's ovaries were collected, fertilized and then cryogenically preserved. (Photo: AFP)

"There is a credible study done last year that shows that less than 10% of women use their eggs after freezing them," said the assistant professor at the Biomedical Ethics Center of the National University of Singapore.

At the same time, he acknowledged that "women have a strong desire to have their own biological son." If a woman uses her frozen eggs to test a baby, however, "there are several points of failure" to consider.

READ: Why Singapore women go to Johor to make babies

"There is a risk of losing eggs during the thawing process. You may not get a suitable and viable embryo for implantation. You have to undergo the in vitro fertilization procedure, which is not an efficient system itself," he said Doctor Flight.

"You can not get pregnant. And after getting pregnant, you may not produce a living birth. So, much like natural pregnancy … in the first trimester, there is a risk of involuntary abortion. And this increases for older women."

Women have a strong desire to have their own biological son, observe Dr Voo Teck Chuan.

As for the freezing of eggs, therefore, a waste of money, said that the perspective must be "answered by the circumstances of life of each person, his age, resources, understanding of the whole process, the disadvantages and so on ".

He believes that an ethical issue is at the center of the question: to what extent are women informed about the procedure?

In addition to the social freezing of eggs, the treatment of IVF for women 45 years of age or older is also not allowed in Singapore, where the fertility rate fell last year to 1.14, the lowest figure registered in the country's history.

Considering how "sadness" is, said Talking Point's server, Diana Ser, "some may suggest it's time to relax the laws." "But even so, the path to assisted reproduction is paved with challenges," he added.

See this episode of Talking Point here. New episodes on Channel 5 every Thursday at 9:30 PM.

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