Egg Freezing in Singapore – Procedure, costs, benefits, risks & side effects
Egg freezing journey in Singapore


The purpose of this post is to share my personal experience with egg freezing. All content written here including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding your condition.

I own the full copyright to this article. I do NOT agree to any distribution to any media/blogs/ news agencies without my consent. You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to any publications, or otherwise any use of the content below in any way. Any use of this content requires my prior written permission and consent.

I hesitated for a long time before I wrote/posted this as I wanted to keep this personal decision private and don’t want to invite unnecessary attention. It took a lot of courage and deliberation but I forged ahead mainly because 1) too many women are asking me about it & 2) I reflected back on my journey and choices and I am glad I did it.

To make this as easy to understand as possible, I have tried to write in simple English, minimising the use of medical jargon.  I’m 100% unqualified hence, I included some relevant information from other websites for reference.

This is a lengthy post and it includes various aspects of my egg freezing journey and the research I did. Feel free to skip to the parts that interest you!

Part 2: Singapore’s Ban on Social Egg Freezing & “Profoundly Selfish Act” Comment by National Council of Churches of Singapore

Article Outline

Why am I finally sharing about my egg freezing journey?
– Reasons it took me 2 years
– Revival of the debate on the ban of social egg freezing in Singapore
– Risks associated with egg freezing

Background on egg freezing in Singapore
– What is egg freezing?
– Why freeze your eggs?
– Egg freezing is illegal in Singapore & exceptions

Basic facts & figures about egg freezing
– Egg count, egg quality and fertility & age
– Fertility statistics by age: Monthly chance of natural pregnancy
– Fertility statistics by age: Egg count by age
– Fertility goes into a sharper decline around age 35 – over 10 years before menopause
– How many eggs should I store to achieve a pregnancy?

My personal thoughts & egg freezing experience 
– Why and how did I end up freezing my eggs?
– What is involved in egg freezing?

Frequently asked questions
– Where, costs, at what age & how many eggs

Experience
– Consultation, Initial Phase, injection Phase & Harvesting & Storing
– Videos of the self-injection process
– Safety of the procedures
– Food & drink restrictions

What happens when you want to get pregnant?

Final Words

Interesting information & questions you may have
Should you freeze eggs or embryos?
Where are the eggs kept?
Are eggs harder to freeze than sperms or embryos?
How big is the egg freezing (assisted reproduction) market? 
Regional insights on the egg freezing market
Understanding why the Singapore Government ban egg freezing & are reviewing the ban

A reader’s advice & tips on egg freezing

Reasons why I decided to write this after 2 years:

  • Too many women have been asking me for my thoughts and experience

As of today, I have spoken to at least 80+ women on the topic and more than half are strangers.  I received more than 200 messages in my inbox when I posted about it on my Instagram.

Other than the fact that I can’t reply to all queries sincerely and in detail due to time constraints; I firmly believe that it’s good for women to start thinking early if egg freezing is something they want to pursue and proper research is necessary.

From The Guardian: Over the years, egg freezing has ballooned in popularity: in 2017, 10,936 women froze their eggs – or 23 times as many did in 2009, according to data collected by Sart. Silicon Valley companies such as Facebook and Google now offer egg freezing as an employee benefit.

  • Importance of knowledge and research

As I grow older, I realise how important it is for (younger) women to consider this for practicality and planning purposes. Just like we are encouraged to buy the insurance and save money as young as possible, we should be thinking about fertility preservation as early as possible. It is a biological conundrum–something that one can’t reverse or contend with. To me, this is something I had to face in a realistic and pragmatic way. 

This begs the question – If research reflects that women are consistently marrying later, why is egg freezing not openly discussed as a solution for assisted reproduction?

  • Revival of the debate on the ban of social egg freezing in Singapore

The topic of the ban of social egg freezing in Singapore is suddenly revived with fervour due to an SCMP article titled “Singapore’s egg-freezing ban forces women to head abroad for fertility treatment” on 4th June 2021. It later appeared on Yahoo News.

Many women (and some men) are offended after reading the article and understandably so. Why are they so offended? Two reasons:

1. The longstanding ban on egg freezing by the Ministry of Social and Family Development
2.  “Profoundly selfish act” – a comment by the National Council of Churches of Singapore (“NCSS”) about egg freezing

Read more about the ban of social egg freezing in Singapore .

Why I did NOT want to write this: 

  • I am not a subject matter expert & I didn’t do any extensive research prior. Literally went on a whim… didn’t even do ANY research. (What was I thinking???)
  • Wanted my privacy & my mom actually didn’t want me to write this as she “didn’t want me to be reminded of the immense pain”.
  • Legality

A friend warned me about the legality issue, and I might get into trouble. I hope that I won’t and that I will NOT in any way implicate my doctor/clinic. I am taking a chance here, despite fearing blowback, in writing a fairly extensive personal piece to help others make an informed decision. Everything written here is my personal opinion and I don’t claim to be a medical doctor and none of this should be taken as professional advice.

Also, I am not here to debate if egg freezing should be legal or not, or the morality of it. I am only here to share some facts, my personal thoughts and experience. I understand that there are a lot of risks involved and I am not disputing that. This Channel NewsAsia article provides a balanced view of egg freezing.

Before I start, I will like to highlight the risks of egg freezing, coupled with quotes from the said article above.

  • What are the risks involved?

Some of these risks involve overstimulation of the ovaries, infection, and even bleeding. Women also need to know that age-related complications will still be a cause for concern for. The older you get, the more delicate your body becomes. It might be harder to complete the term of pregnancy as compared to those who got pregnant at an early age. Other ailments like hypertension and even the onset of diabetes can be a cause of complications.

“There’s the risk of losing the eggs through the process of thawing. You may not get a suitable, viable embryo for implantation. You have to undergo the procedure of IVF, which isn’t an efficient system per se.”

“There’s a credible study done last year that shows that fewer than 10 per cent of women use their eggs after freezing them.

“You might fail to get pregnant. And after you get pregnant, it might not result in a live birth. So, very much like natural pregnancy … in the first trimester, there’s a risk of miscarriage. And this increases for older women.”

Egg freezing Singapore experience - Anna (1)
Injections – Needles & Jabs

BACKGROUND ON EGG FREEZING IN SINGAPORE

  • What is egg freezing?

From The New Savvy: Technically referred to as elective oocyte freezing (EOF), this is a go-to option for some women—primarily, those who choose to start a family later in life. Freezing their eggs and keeping it safely tucked away in a clinic in the hope for a guarantee that they can have babies at an older age.

  • Why freeze your eggs?

There are several reasons why egg freezing is becoming more and more popular in Singapore. One obvious reason is the fact, as reported by the Department of Statistics Singapore, there is an increase in the number of people who chose to marry late in life over the past ten years.

This may not seem to be that big of a deal but when you start to consider other factors such as childbirth, this decision has broader impacts. Statistics have for years pointed to a decline in total live births in Singapore since 2014, picking up ever so slightly in 2016. Prof. Jean Yeung, Director of the Centre for Family and Population Research for the National University of Singapore noted that birth rates have been hit as women marry later.

  • Egg freezing is illegal in Singapore

Despite the benefits of egg freezing, it remains illegal in Singapore. Of course, there are exceptions. There are a few what are referred to as Licensed Assisted Reproduction (AR) Centres in Singapore that are allowed to perform elective oocyte freezing on women.

Egg freezing is only legal when a woman’s fertility is jeopardised by medical treatment or procedures, including radiotherapy and even chemotherapy. As ovarian cancer is one of the top ten cancers affecting Singaporean women, the government tolerates egg freezing as an option for those in such predicaments to bear kids. Although the procedure carries risks, it is still an option that some women can pursue.

Egg freezing process
Credit: Mayo Clinic

Neighbouring countries report an increase of Singaporean women freezing their eggs

As the practice of egg freezing is prohibited in Singapore, Asia One reports that Singaporeans are flocking to other countries, including Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, and even the United States to freeze eggs. These are some of the most common destinations that have seen an increase in their medical tourism.

Five years ago, Dr Helena Lim of the KL Fertility Centre in Kuala Lumpur never had Singaporean client. Presently, they are averaging two Singaporeans looking at social egg freezing services. Costs involved would be a minimum of S$5,000 for the process and over S$300 for storage every year.

According to Channel NewsAsia, “Sunfert, located in Kuala Lumpur’s affluent suburb Bangsar, said it receives an average of one Singaporean woman each month wanting to freeze her eggs. The clinic charges around RM20,000 to RM25,000 (S$6,600 to S$8,300) for the procedure, which includes fertility medications, clinic visits, and the egg retrieval itself. However, this doesn’t cover the storage fee, future thawing or fertilization when the woman is ready to use her egg.’

There are also some women who choose to go to Australia. Costs could set them back an astounding S$11,300 for the process and a yearly storage fee. Even with the high cost, there are still Singaporeans going to Australia to freeze their eggs.

BASIC FACTS & FIGURES ON EGG FREEZING

Extend Fertility provides helpful evidence-based resources presented in a clear and concise manner with great visuals. Below are some excerpts from their website. 

Basically, there are 3 important considerations when we look at women’s reproductive abilities:

  1. Egg Count
    Women are born with ~1 million eggs, but that is all the eggs they will ever have. This reserve declines as women age.
    More on egg counts.
  2. Eggs Quality
    Eggs are either genetically normal or abnormal. Over time, the percentage of abnormal eggs increases.
    More on egg quality.
  3. Fertility & Age
    Diminishing egg count and quality decrease your fertility as you age-accelerating around age 35.
    More on fertility and age.
  • Fertility statistics by age: Monthly chance of natural pregnancy 

As a woman ages, her chance of natural pregnancy drops from around 25% at age 25 to less than 5% at age 40.

egg freezing chance of success
Source: Extend Fertility

It’s a common misconception that we have a 100% chance of pregnancy each time we ovulate (i.e., each month). Because a certain percentage of our eggs are abnormal at any age, and because fertilisation must happen within a narrow window after ovulation occurs, even a young, healthy woman trying to get pregnant only has about a 25% chance each month.

However, we get 12 or so cycles a year—so a healthy woman in her 20s will have a very good chance of getting pregnant in any given year if she’s trying. This is why doctors tell women under 35 to “try for a year before seeking fertility help.”

  • Fertility statistics by age: Egg count over time

“A woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have, which at birth, is typically around 1 million. By puberty, she usually has half that—and each month after puberty, she loses up to 1,000 eggs. Of those, only one egg is matured and ovulated each month.

Source: Wallace W, Kelsey T. Human Ovarian Reserve from Conception to the Menopause. PLoS ONE 2010; 5(1).”

egg freezing -women egg count over time
Source: Extend Fertility
  • Fertility goes into a sharper decline around age 35 – over 10 years before menopause

“Our “reproductive life” begins when we get our first period, usually around age 12 or so, and lasts until our last menstrual period some four decades later (that’s menopause). But because egg count and egg quality decline as we age, we don’t remain fertile for the entirety of this timespan.”

No, our fertility do *not* drop off a cliff at age 35; fertility declines throughout our adult lives. However, the decline has a snowball effect—in that as we age, not only does our fertility decline but the rate at which it declines actually increases. In short, the downward slope of fertility and age gets steeper in our mid-30s.

  • How many eggs should I store to achieve a pregnancy?

From USC Fertility: Based on preliminary data from our study and that of others, egg thaw rates of 75% and fertilization rates of 75% are anticipated in women up to 38 years of age. Thus, if 10 eggs are frozen, 7 are expected to survive the thaw, and 5 to 6 are expected to fertilize and become embryos.

Usually, 3-4 embryos are transferred in women up to 38 years of age. We, therefore, recommend that 10 eggs be stored for each pregnancy attempt. Most women 38 years of age and under can expect to harvest 10-20 eggs per cycle.

From The Guardian: A 2016 study of 1,171 IVF cycles using frozen eggs found that for a woman who froze five eggs at age 35 or younger, the chance of live birth was 15%. The chance increased to 61% for women who froze 10 eggs and 85% for women who froze 15 or more eggs.

MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS

I’d like to start with my personal circumstance to give you a holistic view. Unlike most girls, I was adamant not to get married before 32. My parents married at 19 and had me at 20. I witnessed how they struggled their whole lives for us, and have never really “lived”. They hardly get to travel, work to the bone and have no chance to enjoy all the hedonistic pleasure life has to offer. I was still partying hard at 34!

Although I am certainly not in the position to judge on what’s a life well-lived, looking at them made me decide that I wanted to marry late, if ever. As for my sentiment towards children, it has been an interesting journey and discovery. Since young, I never wanted to have kids. It was a definite no. I grew up with my brother and cousins (hello) and witnessed first-hand how difficult it was to take care of children.

In addition, after I started The New Savvy, my whole life became a big question mark. As an entrepreneur, I am inundated with questions pinning on survival. What if we can’t keep the lights on? What if this, or that….? I always wryly half-joked with my friends, “I can’t even take care of myself, how can I have children?

I think everyone’s view about having children and being a mother is different. Mine was always to give my kids all the best opportunities they’d want that I couldn’t have. Since I had a rough childhood, I was afraid of it and couldn’t even imagine being a mother. I also never had the luck or chance to meet the right guy and… be married.

So, why and how did I end up freezing my eggs?

Again, this is one of the main reasons why I am so hesitant about writing this. The truth is I did it on a whim without extensive research. I believe in only recommending something when I am “sure” of something and am comfortable with safety measures available and efficacy. I can’t highlight this point enough because this is such a personal and emotionally draining journey and don’t want to be flippant about it.

So, before I share my personal experience on egg freezing in Singapore, here’s a more scientific and factual description of the process.

  • What is involved in egg freezing?

From USC Fertility: “In order to retrieve eggs for freezing, a patient undergoes the same hormone-injection process as in-vitro fertilization (see IVF Cycle Details). The only difference is that following egg retrieval, they are frozen for a period of time before they are thawed, fertilized and transferred to the uterus as embryos.

It takes approximately 3 weeks to complete the egg freezing cycle and is consistent with the initial stages of the IVF process including:

  • 1-2 weeks of birth control pills to temporarily turn off natural hormones (this step can be skipped if there is urgency, such as prior to cancer therapy).
  • 9-10 days of hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries and ripen multiple eggs.

Once the eggs have adequately matured, they are removed with a needle placed through the vagina under ultrasound guidance. This procedure is done under intravenous sedation and is not painful. The eggs are then immediately frozen.

When the patient is ready to attempt pregnancy (this can be several years later) the eggs are thawed, injected with a single sperm to achieve fertilization, and transferred to the uterus as embryos.”

Egg freezing Process
Credit: Straits Times, Her World Online

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Background story: A close female friend, A, wanted to freeze her eggs and asked me to do it together with her. I was half-hearted and didn’t feel the need to as I was about 33 then. As luck would have it, I had lunch with a guy friend B, who shared his story about his wife’s egg freezing experience and it did not sound as bad as I imagined.

When I confirmed with my good friend A if she was ready and wanted to do it, she said yes. She asked me to do the necessary tests first as she had already gotten them done. 9 hours, 2 visits later, friend A decided not to do it and I was left with the decision to continue or not.

I decided to forge ahead, the primary reason being: I wanted INSURANCE. No matter how small the probability is, I wanted peace of mind. While I didn’t think much of it then, I increasingly believe that I made the right choice. If you are thinking of freezing your egg, it is imperative that you consider your own situation, finances, health, relationships, plans for children and more. Be as honest and pragmatic with yourself as possible.

2 years later and 8 kgs heavier, here’s my account and experience. I hope that this helps those of you who are thinking of doing it.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ON EGG FREEZINGEgg freezing Singapore experience - Anna (7)

  • How much does the egg freezing cost? 

I don’t have the exact figure but my estimate is S$10,000-12,000 for the whole treatment, with S$1,000-2,000 for miscellaneous (airfare, hotel, transport). Storage is $1,000/year.

  • Where did you freeze your egg?

I did the treatment, harvesting separately and storage in Malaysia.

  • When did you freeze your egg? How old were you?

2018, 34 (right after my 34th birthday!) – this is an important point as WHEN you do it matters a lot.

  • How many eggs did you retrieve and store?

16 retrieved, 12 stored (very related to the previous question!)

  • What was the experience like?

I’ll break it down to a few parts: Consultation, Initial Phase, Injection, Harvesting & Storing Phase.
(I am sure there are scientific terms and names for these phases, read above! I described my account to the best of my abilities. It’s been 2 years and some memories might be hazy!)

Egg freezing Process
Credit: Straits Times, Her World Online
  • Consultation

I went to the clinic, told the doctor what I wanted and explained why. He was very understanding and asked me when my last period was. The wait to see the doctor was 5 hours but the consultation itself was only 15 minutes long. He told me to do the necessary tests: Blood, urine, ultrasound, etc. He also prescribed some pills to regulate my period and to exactly time it to the desired date. I took the medicine for 5 days and then, my period started.

  • Initial Phase

Right after my period ended, I was prescribed with some hormone pills to take for 1-2 weeks. THIS WAS THE MOST TRAUMATISING FOR ME. Not the injections or harvesting part. In those 2 weeks, I was an emotional wreck. I felt sad and emotional all the frickin’ time. I couldn’t stop crying for no reason.

I tried finding out why, meditated, exercised, treated myself and checked all the #selfcare lists. I couldn’t figure out what’s wrong with me which made me even more upset. I genuinely thought I was depressed. I would even cry while I was jogging or enjoying a warm shower.

I felt like I was in a downward spiral and losing control. The fact that I couldn’t fix it vexed me even more. It was only towards the end of the second week that I looked at the medicines and started wondering how come I still had so many pills left. It then dawned on me that I was eating hormonal pills that affected my mood adversely. I was extremely relieved.  

I also realised I took the wrong dosage; I only ate half of the prescribed dosage. I can’t imagine how terrible I would have been if I had taken the full dosage!

The ONLY question I had for the doctor was: What is the measure of success? To me, there’s no point of you telling me that you are storing 3, 8 eggs, or 16 eggs or 88 eggs. Those numbers don’t mean anything unless it’s put in context. How am I supposed to know if that’s a good or bad result?

Alas, as with every medical and legal professional, they refuse to give me a direct reply. I mean, I can understand the fear of blowback and legal issues but seriously though, how can a woman make sense of a number without being put into context?

(But please read on below, I manage to get some tips!)

  • Injection Phase

I can’t remember exactly the number of days for the injections. But it was in 2 stages. I THINK there were 2 steps in the first stage and 3 steps for the second stage. I am pretty sure there were 2 different injections every day for one of the stages. Initially, it’s scary to mix the medications and administer the jab yourself but you get used to it.

The needles are long and huge–pretty intimidating. I didn’t have a partner or anyone to do it for me. Also, maybe I have more tummy fat, so it’s really not that painful. The visual image of the needle and thought of pricking yourself is definitely scarier than the actual pain.

This process is to prompt your body to produce multiple eggs, instead of the single egg it usually produces each cycle. During the injection phase, the doctor asked me to choose a date for harvesting in Kuala Lumpur. It was an affiliate hospital. I chose a date and the nurses made the arrangement.

Emotionally, I stabilised and was just in a good mood knowing that I was okay and it was just the hormones. My doctor had dry humour and jokingly said, “In my decades of practice, I have seen single mothers with their families, women with their husbands. You are the first lady who ALWAYS comes here alone, all the time.” I mock protested, asking him how does that make me feel better… but I concurred, #foreveralone! 😉

I managed to find some videos of me preparing for the injections, assembling the needles and injecting myself. Not sure why I took them, maybe for the memories. 🙂
(Be warned, these videos were for personal consumption, so they are of poor production quality and I am super casually dressed/ no makeup and look terrible!)

VIDEOS OF THE INJECTIONS PROCESS

 

 

 

  • Storing Phase

The day before my surgery, I flew to KL alone at 3 pm and checked into a hotel near a shopping centre (for ease of meals). I checked out at 6 am the next morning and cabbed to the hospital. My reporting time was 7 am. I did the basic registration etc as per normal surgery and waited. Waited, and waited and was finally called in at 1130 am.

Went to the operating theatre which honestly looks more like a consultation room. At this point, I did wonder if I had made the right choice by choosing KL. No offence to Malaysians or the hospital but safety is critical.

  • Safety of the procedure

Let’s be honest, Malaysia’s standard of healthcare is not equivalent to Singapore’s. While it’s my fault for not even checking or researching, I did feel a slight tinge of fear about how safe and qualified the hospital personnel are. In addition to their skills and qualifications, how about the safety of the equipment used? Again, I don’t mean any offence, but I am used to the standards of Singapore hospitals.

But therein lies the issue too, no? If egg freezing is legal in Singapore, then women won’t need to travel overseas to harvest and store their eggs.

Egg freezing Singapore experience - Anna (12)
Leaving for the airport!

I was sedated and was unconscious while counting to 10. About 1.5 hours later, I woke up in my waiting room in discomfort, slightly uncomfortable but nothing excruciating. I am bleeding in some spots and the nurse came with some hot Milo. I asked her how the surgery went.

She told me that they took out 16 eggs and only managed to store 12 good ones.

Again, I asked her what does that mean? Is that a good or bad result? I can’t be sure about the accuracy of the information she provided but here are 3 salient points she told me:

“For women below 35, 12 eggs will equate to 1 child. 2 at most. 3 if you are very lucky.
For women above 35, to be safe, you need 30 eggs for 1 child.
The younger the age of the woman doing egg freezing, the better the quality of the eggs. Hence, you should always do it as young as possible.”

She gave me some other advice on post-surgery which I didn’t really heed. About 2 hours after the surgery, I asked her if I could leave. I took off all the bandages, cleaned myself up, changed and did the arrangements for the storage and payments. I headed straight for the airport and took the 6 pm flight back to Singapore that very day. The next day, I had a full day of photoshoot and was gritting myself through the discomfort.  

I think a part of me wanted to avoid dealing with the emotions involved and wanted to busy myself and shut out any thoughts or feelings. After all, it’s been a huge burden both physically, mentally and psychologically for me.

The nurse asked if I will consider another round, just to be safe. My reply? “No. I can handle the injections and surgery… they were easy. But the emotional havoc and crying? I can’t manage that. To go through it again would be pure hell.

  • Post-surgery 

I can’t really remember any side effects after the surgery. It’s mostly the usual PMS symptoms – bloating, irritability, tenderness, etc. The 2 things I did notice though – I put on a lot of weight quickly and was unable to lose them. I think I put on 6 kg in the 3 weeks. It can be attributed to ageing and an unhealthy lifestyle, but I actually went for a 3-weeks intensive sports bootcamp 3 weeks after I did the surgery.

I noticed that the way my body piles on the weight shifted to different areas. My arms used to be slim, no matter how my weight fluctuates. After the surgery, I realised that my arms get much bigger as I put on the weight.

I also realised that it’s extremely hard for me to lose weight after the surgery. In the past, I can rely on my usual methods of eating less, exercising and I’ll drop the pounds quickly. Now, I can’t. It’s a small thing but it’s still something you should be mindful of.

haotanto anna vanessa
Photoshoot the next day, see the surgery bandage 😉
  • Food & Drink Restrictions

I don’t remember in detail what the restrictions are and it’s best to consult a professional or medical doctor. I know that alcohol was strongly discouraged. I was a raging alcoholic then, so I cheated and had 1 drink in 2 different days.

If I could redo it, I would have weaned myself off alcohol and lead a healthier life. My lifestyle then was terrible, and I always wondered if the results would have been better if I had followed the requirements to a tee.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

So, what happens when you are finally ready for children? According to Mayo Clinic:

“When you want to use your frozen eggs, they’ll be thawed, fertilized with sperm in a lab, and implanted in your or a gestational carrier’s uterus.

Your health care team might recommend using a fertilization technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). In ICSI, a single healthy sperm is injected directly into each mature egg.

The chances of becoming pregnant after implantation are roughly 30 to 60 per cent, depending on your age at the time of egg freezing. The older you are at the time of egg freezing, the lower the likelihood that you’ll have a live birth in the future.”

FINAL WORDS

I believe I have attempted to create a fair and reasonable resource and to highlight the various aspects when considering egg freezing. I spent at least 30 hours researching, collating information from various sites, finding the old photos and information and writing this article to give you a better understanding.

I am not one to give advice but if you’re thinking of egg freezing, I humbly suggest that you start planning for it early. The earlier you do, the better it is.

I’m not a doctor or a scientist. There is a lot of research on the efficacy of egg freezing. Is this a 100% guaranteed insurance policy? Probably not. I am not sure that you’ll definitely have kids when you freeze your eggs, I honestly have no idea how much of a guarantee it is. But I believe that technology and science are advancing.

Whatever your situation is, thank you for reading this. I wish you luck and love. ❤️

INTERESTING INFORMATION & QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE

I did a lot of research for this article and compiled some questions you may have, properly crediting where the answers are from. 🙂

  • Moral & Ethical acceptability of fertility preservation for non-medical reasons?From Singapore’s Ban on Social Egg Freezing
    1. Modern working women’s dilemma
    2. Egg freezing/ovarian or oocyte preservation as an insurance
    3. Genetic relatedness to child
    4. Medical risks of late pregnancy for mother and child
    5. Primum non nocere (“First do no harm”)
    6. Technical considerations
    7. Oocyte preservation as an alternative to less-morally desirable options
    8. Gender equality in reproduction

Read more for the moral and ethical reasons for & against social egg freezing in Singapore.

Frozen eggs are kept in storage tanks filled with liquid nitrogen called Dewars. These tanks are stored in assisted reproduction centres. Some centres have sophisticated temperature monitoring systems that will send messages to the staff mobile phones if a rise in temperature is detected, enabling them to assess the situation and move the eggs to another tank if there is a problem.

First, some 101: eggs are unfertilized, and embryos are eggs that have been fertilized with sperm. Freezing your eggs offers more options — you don’t have to know who’s going to fertilize those eggs and you can take some time to figure that out. Embryo freezing is useful if you have a cis male partner or a donor and want to get pregnant with that person via IVF.

It’s possible that you will end up with more embryos than you might want to use, and find yourself confronted with what to do with them: Discard? Donate? Keep them frozen? What happens to those embryos if you end your relationship with the person whose sperm was used?

The same issues — how many will survive freezing, how many results in a successful pregnancy —apply, whether you’re dealing with embryos or eggs, so ultimately, the answer as to what to do is between you, a partner (if you have one), and a doctor.

“Eggs are the largest cells in the human body, and largely made of water. When being frozen with the old slow freezing method, water forms ice crystals which can damage the egg. The vitrification process starts off with dehydrating the egg, to remove as much water as possible before ultra-rapid freezing.

Why eggs are harder to freezeSperm are about 10,000 times smaller than eggs, with much less water in each cell. Therefore they are less susceptible to damage from ice crystal formation. Embryos are usually frozen when there are a few hundred cells.

Therefore the chances of surviving the freezing process are better, as even if a few cells are damaged during the process, the other cells will survive, and resume cell division and multiplication once warmed up.”

“The global assisted reproductive technology market size was estimated to be around USD 21 billion in 2017 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 10% over the forecast period. Contributing factors to the growth are the increasing number of infertility cases due to obesity, growing stress, and pollution, increasing number of smokers, fertility threatening treatments such as chemotherapy, and favourable regulatory framework. The removal of tag “experimental” from egg freezing by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) is also projected to accelerate the growth of the market.”

U.S. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Market

  • Regional Insights

    Europe dominated the market in 2017 due to a rise in infertility rate, rising awareness among people for fertility treatment, technological advancements, and government initiatives. In June 2014, CDC developed a national public health action plan for detection, improved efficacy of safe treatment, and prevention of infertility.

The Barcelona summit suggested the establishment of an expert group to solve demographic issues, increase the childcare facilities, and acceptance of parent IVF procedure for clinical trials. Spain and Italy are other countries with a wide acceptance of assisted reproductive technology procedures. As per update of 2017, a lesbian couple and single women in France are expected to have access to the ART in the coming years.

North America is also expected to witness growth in the coming years. This is due to people’s awareness about various fertility options, government support for the in-vitro fertilization, and various technological and procedure up-gradation. For instance, in August 2015 Ovascience’s treatment named AUGMENT has been reported to have rejuvenated women’s aging egg cells and provided benefits to eggs with poor quality. In February 2015, the scientist of U.S. who invented the three-parent IVF procedure requested the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant permission for its clinical trials as age-related infertility.

Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing market in the coming years. The drivers for Asia Pacific region are late family planning and comparatively lower treatment cost. Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE), held on 4th April 2014, was to provide guidance to the healthcare professionals on how to assist the patients on various infertility treatments and to increase the quality of patient care.

Technological advancements is expected to drive the Australia ART/ fertility market over the forecast period. In March 2018, it was reported that a smart TV app is used by the Monash IVF to consult fertility patients in China after the clinic entered into an agreement with AC International Medical Tourism (Melbourne), which targets the Chinese market. Monash IVF, a fertility clinic in Melbourne, entered into a partnership with platform BabySmart, which enables the Chinese patients to have face to face consultation with the clinicians in Australia.”

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Market|

  • Understanding why the Singapore Government ban egg freezing & are reviewing the ban

 

The purpose of this post is to share my personal experience with egg freezing. All content written here including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding your condition.

I own the full copyright to this article. I do NOT agree to any distribution to any media/blogs/ news agencies without my consent. You may not copy, reproduce, republish, download, post, broadcast, transmit, make available to any publications, or otherwise any use of the content below in any way. Any use of this content requires my prior written permission and consent.

A reader, Angelica, commented below on some advice for egg freezing, which I thought was quite interesting. I am posting it (only editing it linguistically) for your consideration but take no credit or responsibility for it. I am not sure of its accuracy but it’s good to consider more viewpoints. Please read with your own discretion.

“Here are some advice and tips for single Singaporean ladies considering egg freezing overseas:

(1) Don’t believe claims of high IVF success rates of 40% to 50% with frozen (vitrified) eggs.

Many foreign fertility clinics will tell you that such high success rates are published in reputable medical journals, and are achieved using the latest vitrification technology that avoids ice crystallization damage. What they don’t tell you is that such high IVF success rates are in fact based on frozen donor eggs from young healthy women (20 to 25 years of age, with low BMI and high ovarian reserves i.e. AMH levels and antral follicle counts). Egg donors are carefully selected to be the most fertile women in their age group cohorts. For example in the USA, only 5% of applicants are accepted to be egg donors.

This is not reflective of older career woman freezing their eggs, who are typically aged between their mid-30’s to early-40’s, with variable BMI and much lower ovarian reserves. Hence, good results on egg freezing published in reputable medical journals are highly-skewed, because most of these studies compared fresh versus frozen (vitrified) eggs from carefully-selected, young, healthy and highly-fertile egg donors.

Beware that the IVF success rates with frozen eggs drop exponentially with increasing age, due to the rising incidence of chromosomal abnormalities in the frozen eggs. As such, the IVF success rates with frozen eggs from older women are very much lower than that advertised by foreign fertility clinics, as reported by the news media:

Woman who froze 11 eggs found that none of these could produce a baby:

https://nationalpost.com/news/world/i-was-sad-i-was-angry-i-was-ashamed-inside-the-struggle-to-conceive-with-frozen-eggs

https://www.insider.com/egg-freezing-failure-risks-2017-3

https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/wellness/story/freezing-eggs-work-women-65125606

Woman who froze 21 eggs found that only 1 could produce a baby:

https://www.technologyreview.com/2019/08/14/133377/mothers-journey-egg-freezing-parenthood/

(2) Be prepared to undergo multiple egg freezing cycles to obtain a sufficient number of frozen eggs to have a reasonable chance of future pregnancy, particularly if you are an older woman with low ovarian reserves. Even that is no guarantee of having a child in the future.

https://www.centerforhumanreprod.com/services/fertility-preservation/egg-freezing/how-many-eggs-to-freeze/

(3) Choose to do egg freezing in a country where there are strict regulation and good quality-control of fertility clinics and IVF labs. It is not just about costs! This is crucial, given that there had been catastrophic failures in the low-temperature storage of frozen eggs.

It is often the case that developed countries have stricter regulation and better quality control of IVF clinics, as compared to developing countries. For example, compare Australia versus Malaysia or Thailand. In Australia, IVF labs are regularly inspected and audited by the Fertility Society of Australia (FSA) and the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) of Australia. Are IVF labs in Malaysia and Thailand subjected to similar mandatory inspections and audits?

The fact that you can read the news about frozen egg storage failures in the USA confirm that American fertility clinics and IVF labs are subject to strict regulatory oversight and good quality control. Hence, they quickly acknowledged their failures publicly, despite knowing that they will likely be sued for millions of dollars.

Can such transparency and honesty be expected of private fertility clinics and IVF labs in developing countries, where government regulation and oversight are less strict?

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/womens-health/egg-freezing-industry-reeling-after-two-major-malfunctions-n856016

(4) Check your ovarian reserves and health of your ovaries before doing egg freezing overseas.

Ovarian reserves are determined by measuring your blood serum levels of AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) and FSH (Follicular Stimulating Hormone), as well as antral follicle count via ultrasound. If you are diagnosed with low ovarian reserves, you will likely require more egg freezing cycles to obtain an adequate number of frozen eggs for a reasonable chance of future pregnancy (See above table). This means spending more time and money.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) occurs in about 10% of women of reproductive age and is a major cause of infertility. Although a higher number of eggs are typically recovered from PCOS versus normal patients during IVF, the eggs are often less mature and poorer in quality, which may compromise the success of egg freezing. Moreover, PCOS patients are more prone to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which increases the risk of cancellation of egg freezing cycles, leading to wastage of your hard-earned money.

(5) Check the health status of your womb (uterus) before doing egg freezing, particularly the presence of uterine fibroids, which most commonly develop in women between 30 and 40 years of age.

Uterine fibroids have been reported to lower the chances of pregnancy in older women doing IVF with their frozen eggs. Hence, it is not just the number and quality of your frozen eggs, nor is it just about your age at which you freeze your eggs. The health condition of your womb at the time that you are using your frozen eggs also matters a great deal. This is one point that has largely been overlooked in social egg freezing. Perhaps, it is best to ask your doctor to check your womb for uterine fibroids before freezing your eggs.

https://www.eggsurance.com/fibroids-derailed-egg-freezing-journey/

(6) Undergo counselling by a certified fertility counsellor to be aware of all the potential risks and limitations of egg freezing.

This will enable you to make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed freezing your eggs. In developed countries such as Australia, it is mandatory for patients to undergo counselling by a certified fertility counsellor, before doing the egg freezing procedure (The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act, 2008). By contrast, in Malaysia and Thailand, there is no such mandatory requirement, and only the fertility doctor provides all the advice, which may be biased because the IVF clinic itself wants to promote egg freezing.

Perhaps, it may be a good idea to consult a local fertility counsellor in Singapore about egg freezing, before travelling overseas to do the procedure.”

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28 replies on “Egg Freezing in Singapore – Procedure, costs, benefits, risks & side effects”

Thanks for your extensive review. I am a 34 yo single woman who is actively planning to do the same. I called up a few clinics in KL, and they told me that they can only perform the procedure if I’m married and I have to show my marriage certificate. I’m hoping you can share the clinic details with me so I’ll call them to enquire 🙂

I understand the legality part, and I would like to assure you that I am just a individual who needs information on this subject topic and not someone who I dunno… a lawyer or a religious activist or whatnot

Much appreciated,
Jeannette
HP: 9181 0055

Here are some advice and tips for single Singaporean ladies considering egg freezing overseas:

(1) Don’t believe claims of high IVF success rates of 40% to 50% with frozen (vitrified) eggs.

Many foreign fertility clinics will tell you that such high success rates are published in reputable medical journals, and are achieved using the latest vitrification technology that avoids ice crystallization damage. What they don’t tell you is that such high IVF success rates are in fact based on frozen donor eggs from young healthy women (20 to 25 years of age, with low BMI and high ovarian reserves i.e. AMH levels and antral follicle counts). Egg donors are carefully selected to be the most fertile women in their age group cohorts. For example in the USA, only 5% of applicants are accepted to be egg donors. This is not reflective of older career woman freezing their eggs, who are typically aged between their mid-30’s to early-40’s, with variable BMI and much lower ovarian reserves. Hence, good results on egg freezing published in reputable medical journals are highly-skewed, because most of these studies compared fresh versus frozen (vitrified) eggs from carefully-selected, young, healthy and highly-fertile egg donors.

Beware that the IVF success rates with frozen eggs drop exponentially with increasing age, due to rising incidence of chromosomal abnormalities in the frozen eggs. As such, the IVF success rates with frozen eggs from older women are very much lower than that advertised by foreign fertility clinics, as reported by the news media:

Woman who froze 11 eggs found that none of these could produce a baby:

https://nationalpost.com/news/world/i-was-sad-i-was-angry-i-was-ashamed-inside-the-struggle-to-conceive-with-frozen-eggs

https://www.insider.com/egg-freezing-failure-risks-2017-3

https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/wellness/story/freezing-eggs-work-women-65125606

Woman who froze 21 eggs found that only 1 could produce a baby:

https://www.technologyreview.com/2019/08/14/133377/mothers-journey-egg-freezing-parenthood/

(2) Be prepared to undergo multiple egg freezing cycles to obtain sufficient number of frozen eggs to have a reasonable chance of future pregnancy, particularly if you are an older woman with low ovarian reserves. Even that is no guarantee of having a child in the future.

https://www.centerforhumanreprod.com/services/fertility-preservation/egg-freezing/how-many-eggs-to-freeze/

(3) Choose to do egg freezing in a country where there are strict regulation and good quality-control of fertility clinics and IVF labs. It is not just about costs! This is crucial, given that there had been catastrophic failures in the low-temperature storage of frozen eggs.

It is often the case that developed countries have stricter regulation and better quality control of IVF clinics, as compared to developing countries. For example, compare Australia versus Malaysia or Thailand. In Australia, IVF labs are regularly inspected and audited by the Fertility Society of Australia (FSA) and the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) of Australia. Are IVF labs in Malaysia and Thailand subjected to similar mandatory inspections and audits?

The fact that you can read the news about frozen egg storage failures in the USA confirm that American fertility clinics and IVF labs are subject to strict regulatory oversight and good quality control. Hence, they quickly acknowledged their failures publicly, despite knowing that they will likely be sued for millions of dollars.

Can such transparency and honesty be expected of private fertility clinics and IVF labs in developing countries, where government regulation and oversight are less strict?

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/womens-health/egg-freezing-industry-reeling-after-two-major-malfunctions-n856016

(4) Check your ovarian reserves and health of your ovaries before doing egg freezing overseas.

Ovarian reserves are determined by measuring your blood serum levels of AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) and FSH (Follicular Stimulating Hormone), as well as antral follicle count via ultrasound. If you are diagnosed with low ovarian reserves, you will likely require more egg freezing cycles to obtain an adequate number of frozen eggs for a reasonable chance of future pregnancy (See above table). This means spending more time and money.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) occurs in about 10% of women of reproductive age, and is a major cause of infertility. Although a higher number of eggs are typically recovered from PCOS versus normal patients during IVF, the eggs are often less mature and poorer in quality, which may compromise the success of egg freezing. Moreover PCOS patients are more prone to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which increases the risk of cancellation of egg freezing cycles, leading to wastage of your hard-earned money.

(5) Check the health status of your womb (uterus) before doing egg freezing, particularly the presence of uterine fibroids, which most commonly develop in women between 30 and 40 years of age.

Uterine fibroids have been reported to lower the chances of pregnancy in older women doing IVF with their frozen eggs. Hence, it is not just the number and quality of your frozen eggs, nor is it just about your age at which you freeze your eggs. The health condition of your womb at the time that you are using your frozen eggs also matters a great deal. This is one point that has largely been overlooked in social egg freezing. Perhaps, it is best to ask your doctor to check your womb for uterine fibroids before freezing your eggs.

https://www.eggsurance.com/fibroids-derailed-egg-freezing-journey/

(6) Undergo counseling by a certified fertility counselor to be aware of all the potential risks and limitations of egg freezing.

This will enable you to make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed freezing your eggs. In developed countries such as Australia, it is mandatory for patients to undergo counseling by a certified fertility counselor, before doing the egg freezing procedure (The Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act, 2008). By contrast, in Malaysia and Thailand there is no such mandatory requirement, and only the fertility doctor provides all the advice, which may be biased because the IVF clinic itself wants to promote egg freezing.

Perhaps, it may be a good idea to consult a local fertility counselor in Singapore about egg freezing, before traveling overseas to do the procedure. Note that fertility counselors in Singapore have to be accredited by the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) of Australia. You can find RTAC-accredited IVF counselors in Singapore on the following website:

https://www.counsellingconnectz.com/team

Don’t skirt the issue of “Single Motherhood by Choice” when discussing social egg freezing
https://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2021/03/19/dont-skirt-issue-of-single-motherhood-by-choice-when-discussing-social-egg-freezing/

In a recent parliamentary session on 25th February 2021, Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC Cheng Li Hui called for permitting social egg freezing in Singapore. At the same time, she also suggested banning women who remain unmarried from using their frozen eggs for IVF treatment, which is akin to sweeping the entire issue of “single motherhood by choice” under the carpet.

This is an intractable and tricky problem that is unlikely to go away. Because single women who freeze their eggs do so with the strong expectation of using these to conceive children in future, regardless of their future marital status.

Not every single woman who freeze their eggs can be expected to successfully find their “Mr. Right” in the future. Under such circumstances, banning unmarried women from using their own frozen eggs is bound to create much resentment and discontent in future, among those that remain single.

It is likely that such a group of disgruntled single women may band together to file a “representative action” or “class action” legal suit against the government to allow them to utilize their frozen eggs to become “single mothers by choice”. Worse still, there is a risk that such single women may even be compelled to enter ‘sham’ or ‘temporary’ marriages just for the sake of achieving their dream of motherhood with their frozen eggs.

A politically expedient solution that the government might possibly consider, is to discreetly allow single women to export their frozen eggs to overseas fertility centers for IVF with donated sperm, thus leaving an open backdoor to “single motherhood by choice”. But this is clearly unsatisfactory, because this would mean unclear and misaligned policy direction by the government on the issue of “single motherhood by choice”. Either permit it openly, or use all means to stop it from occurring.

Hence, it is imperative that there should be more extensive, open and honest debate on the issue of “single motherhood by choice”, when discussing whether or not to permit social egg freezing in Singapore.

How to make egg freezing affordable and readily available to women of all socio-economic classes? https://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/allow-use-of-cpf-to-pay-for-egg-freezing

Allow use of CPF to pay for egg freezing

I applaud the Government for reconsidering its ban on social egg freezing (Govt reviewing ban on women freezing eggs for non-medical reason, Oct 22).
Single women who want to freeze their eggs face many financial constraints due to the high cost of the procedure.
Hence, a pertinent issue that the Government has to consider is how to help them pay the medical fees for such a procedure.
Government subsidies would probably be out of the question because social egg freezing is an elective procedure.
However, the Government may consider permitting the prudent use of CPF savings under conditions based on three criteria for reproductive success.
First, an age limit of 35. Most doctors agree that there is a steep decline in a woman’s fertility after age 35.
Second, CPF use should be permitted only if the woman’s ovaries are healthy and she has an adequate ovarian reserve, which would enable her to produce a sufficient number of good-quality eggs for freezing.
This can be determined through a medical screening for polycystic ovary syndrome, and to check her serum levels of anti-Mullerian hormone.
While it may seem harsh to disallow women with such medical problems from utilising their CPF savings for elective egg freezing, it would alert them to any fertility problems early, and avoid wastage of their CPF savings.
Third, reimbursement of the cost of egg freezing using CPF should be permitted only if a minimum threshold number of eggs of reasonable quality are frozen for the patient.
This may require multiple cycles of ovarian stimulation with hormones.

Tighten rules for doctors referring women to overseas facilities for social egg freezing https://www.todayonline.com/voices/tighten-rules-doctors-referring-women-overseas-facilities-social-egg-freezing

The ban on social egg freezing in Singapore was recently debated in Parliament. The procedure refers to women choosing to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons.

It was reported that there is a growing number of women here who travel abroad to freeze their eggs because it is not allowed in Singapore unless there is a medical reason.

In recent years, there have been fertility doctors in Singapore who have taken a more active role in this process, by providing medical screening services to assess ovarian reserves and giving advice and referrals for women planning to freeze their eggs overseas.

What may have been largely overlooked are the possible financial interests that fertility doctors may have in foreign medical institutions that could bias their advice to patients, in particular their recommendations of suitable foreign fertility clinics for egg freezing.

It would thus be good that the following safeguards be implemented.

First, there should be strict standardised guidelines on informing patients about the medical risks and failure rates of egg freezing.

In particular, older women should be made aware that they need to undergo multiple egg collection and freezing cycles to obtain a sufficient number of frozen eggs to have a reasonable chance of future pregnancy.

For women who freeze their eggs overseas and make that trip just once, they would be in for a very big disappointment should they fail to conceive in the future with their own eggs.

Scientific data published in reputable medical journals claim high success rates of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) with frozen eggs, but these may be misleading to patients who lack specialised knowledge in this area.

For example, patients are often ignorant that many of such published studies were comparing frozen and fresh donated eggs of young women between 20 and 25 years of age, which were collected specifically for use by infertile patients.

This is certainly not reflective of older career women freezing their eggs, who are typically aged from mid-30s to early-40s, with lower-quality eggs.

Perhaps, the Ministry of Health should prepare a standard booklet, pamphlet or website page of relevant information for women intending to do egg freezing overseas.

Second, it must be made mandatory for fertility doctors to advise their patients against egg freezing, if certain factors are present that would drastically lower their chances of conceiving with frozen eggs.

These include being above 40 years of age, or if medical screening were to diagnose certain conditions, including exceptionally low ovarian reserves, health problems with their ovaries such as polycystic ovary syndrome or health problems with their womb such as extensive uterine fibroids, scarring or adhesions.

Third, for greater transparency, for fertility doctors recommending or referring patients to do egg freezing overseas, it should be compulsory for them to openly declare their financial interests in relevant foreign medical institutions, such as shareholding or joint proprietorship.

https://www.todayonline.com/voices/tighten-rules-doctors-referring-women-overseas-facilities-social-egg-freezing

Tighten rules for doctors referring women to overseas facilities for social egg freezing

The ban on social egg freezing in Singapore was recently debated in Parliament. The procedure refers to women choosing to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons.

It was reported that there is a growing number of women here who travel abroad to freeze their eggs because it is not allowed in Singapore unless there is a medical reason.

In recent years, there have been fertility doctors in Singapore who have taken a more active role in this process, by providing medical screening services to assess ovarian reserves and giving advice and referrals for women planning to freeze their eggs overseas.

What may have been largely overlooked are the possible financial interests that fertility doctors may have in foreign medical institutions that could bias their advice to patients, in particular their recommendations of suitable foreign fertility clinics for egg freezing.

It would thus be good that the following safeguards be implemented.

First, there should be strict standardised guidelines on informing patients about the medical risks and failure rates of egg freezing.

In particular, older women should be made aware that they need to undergo multiple egg collection and freezing cycles to obtain a sufficient number of frozen eggs to have a reasonable chance of future pregnancy.

For women who freeze their eggs overseas and make that trip just once, they would be in for a very big disappointment should they fail to conceive in the future with their own eggs.

Scientific data published in reputable medical journals claim high success rates of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) with frozen eggs, but these may be misleading to patients who lack specialised knowledge in this area.

For example, patients are often ignorant that many of such published studies were comparing frozen and fresh donated eggs of young women between 20 and 25 years of age, which were collected specifically for use by infertile patients.

This is certainly not reflective of older career women freezing their eggs, who are typically aged from mid-30s to early-40s, with lower-quality eggs.

Perhaps, the Ministry of Health should prepare a standard booklet, pamphlet or website page of relevant information for women intending to do egg freezing overseas.

Second, it must be made mandatory for fertility doctors to advise their patients against egg freezing, if certain factors are present that would drastically lower their chances of conceiving with frozen eggs.

These include being above 40 years of age, or if medical screening were to diagnose certain conditions, including exceptionally low ovarian reserves, health problems with their ovaries such as polycystic ovary syndrome or health problems with their womb such as extensive uterine fibroids, scarring or adhesions.

Third, for greater transparency, for fertility doctors recommending or referring patients to do egg freezing overseas, it should be compulsory for them to openly declare their financial interests in relevant foreign medical institutions, such as shareholding or joint proprietorship.

https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/forum/forum-permit-social-egg-freezing-and-let-younger-women-pay-using-their-cpf-money

It is difficult to justify direct government subsidies for egg freezing, as this is an elective procedure linked to personal responsibility for one’s own actions and life choices, unlike subsidised in-vitro fertilisation treatment for infertile couples.

Instead, a three-pronged strategy can be considered.

First, younger women should be permitted to use their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money for egg freezing.

Second, the Government could consider providing low-interest loans to fund egg freezing pegged to CPF ordinary account interest rates, similar to HDB housing loans or loans for university tuition fees.

Third, younger women should be allowed to donate some of their retrieved eggs to infertile patients, in return for subsidies from these patients, which would ease the financial burden of egg freezing. Younger women, particularly those below 30, readily produce an excess number of eggs upon hormonal stimulation.

Stringent safeguards should be implemented with such financial assistance schemes, such as strict age limits, along with mandatory medical screening of reproductive health to ensure that prospective patients are good candidates for egg freezing.

Excluding older women from such financial assistance will also push and encourage women to freeze their eggs when they are much younger, thereby leading to much higher chances of future reproductive success.

https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/forum/forum-no-guarantee-egg-freezing-will-produce-a-viable-pregnancy

No guarantee egg freezing will produce a viable pregnancy

Ms Malavika Menon seems to favour a rethink of current policies on non-medical reasons for egg freezing (Dilemma of social egg freezing for women in Singapore, July 11).

Those in favour of social egg freezing seem to think that women should no longer be punished with childlessness for not finding a partner, and should not feel pressured into a relationship because of their declining fertility.

It is natural for women in their 20s to worry that their biological clock might run out of time.

Presenting egg freezing as an insurance against future infertility is the strategy many egg-bank companies use to sell egg freezing to women.

Freezing your eggs could buy you time and give you more choices for the future, but such aggressive marketing may be misleading.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine estimates that even for younger women below the age of 38, the live birth rate is between 2 per cent and 12 per cent.

If a woman who froze her eggs in her early 20s waited until her late 30s to use them, there is no guarantee that those eggs would produce a viable pregnancy.

Egg banks are offering fertile women a solution for potential infertility that they may not even face.

https://www.todayonline.com/commentary/assessing-whether-lift-ban-social-egg-freezing-here-are-some-issues-singapore-should

If Singapore allows social egg freezing, here are some issues that should be addressed

The Government is expected to give a response in a White Paper by the end of the year after the women’s wing and youth wing of the ruling People’s Action Party proposed lifting the current ban on social egg freezing for single women.

Part of the Government’s deliberation process will undoubtedly involve examining some of the pertinent ethical challenges and pitfalls of social egg freezing.

This matter was raised earlier in the year when there was a debate on permitting social egg freezing in Singapore to address the drastic drop in fertility rates caused by the increasing social trend of late marriages and delayed childbearing within the country.

One foreseeable problem of social egg freezing is that there will be an accumulation of excess unused and unclaimed frozen eggs in storage within fertility clinics.

Indeed, an Australian study reported that the majority of women who freeze their eggs do not eventually utilise them.

In that particular study, researchers surveyed nearly 100 women who had elected to freeze their eggs between 1999 and 2014 for the purpose of delayed childbearing.

They found that just 6 percent of the women had utilised their frozen eggs at the time of the survey, with 3 per cent having given birth using the frozen eggs.

Moreover, there will likely be foreigners who freeze their eggs in Singapore who may not be reached after returning home.

Another problem is the frozen eggs of deceased patients. Can these be claimed by their widowed spouse or next-of-kin for overseas surrogacy arrangements?

A set of clear directives by the authorities on managing unused and unclaimed frozen eggs in storage is therefore necessary.

One suggestion is to make patients sign a form consenting for their eggs to be disposed of should they die or when they had not paid storage fees for a certain number of years, for example, three years.

Another suggestion is to place a limit on the storage duration of frozen eggs, for example, 20 years. After that, there would be mandatory disposal of the frozen eggs.

PREVENTING UNAUTHORISED USE OF DISPOSED EGGS

Stringent regulations should be enacted to prevent unauthorised use of patients’ disposed frozen eggs without their explicit consent.

Most commonly, disposed frozen eggs are just assumed to be “clinical waste”, so it is convenient to use these for training of new laboratory workers involved in in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures.

Currently, this is a hazy and ill-defined ethical issue, because unlike research and treatment, unauthorised use of disposed frozen eggs for training does not produce a “document trail” that can be easily traced, in the form of patents, journal articles and birth records.

This is a clear violation of the patient’s individual autonomy and privacy, if she had not given prior consent for her reproductive material to be used for such a purpose.

DONATION OF UNUSED EGGS

Another important consideration is the option of donating unused frozen eggs to other patients who are infertile.

In such a case, there are three pertinent issues that must be addressed.

1. Spousal consent

Spousal consent ought to be sought at the time of egg donation to other patients.

No doubt, women freeze their eggs when they are single, but their marital status might change at the time they wish to donate their eggs to someone else.

In that case, the authorities should ensure informed consent from the donor’s spouse, because of the possibility of accidental incest between the couple’s children and unknown donor-conceived offspring. It is only right that he be made aware and consent to accepting such risks for his children.

More importantly, the donor’s husband must also consent to forego any future offspring with the donated frozen eggs.

This is particularly significant if his wife, the prospective donor, is already near or past the age of menopause.

2. Making known lower chances of conception

The prospective recipient patients of the donated eggs must be duly and rightfully informed that chances of conception with the unused frozen eggs are significantly lower than fresh donor eggs, lest they get a raw deal upon spending so much money on IVF treatment.

The freezing process always results in some damage to the egg, however minimal, so frozen donor eggs are not nearly as good as fresh donor eggs.

Moreover, women tend to be much older in social egg freezing, compared to the younger age of fresh egg donors.

The older donor age would thus translate to lower egg quality and hence, reduced chances of IVF success for the recipients.

It is also likely that prospective donors would have utilised their best eggs for their own fertility treatment, so the donated unused leftovers may be of questionable quality.

3. Conflict of interest

There is a conflict of interest faced by fertility doctors in persuading their former patients to donate unused frozen eggs, since they will be earning extra medical fees by performing the donation procedure on other patients.

Moreover, there is also the risk of the doctor-patient fiduciary relationship being abused during the consent process, particularly if doctors know that their former patients are grateful to them for previously successful treatment.

This is why the authorities should ban solicitation of egg donation by doctors on behalf of other infertile patients.

Additionally, fertility clinics should not exercise control over the distribution and allocation of donated frozen eggs to other patients.

Instead, this should be handled directly by the authorities, based on a centralised donor registry and waiting list of potential recipient patients, as is now practised for organ donation in Singapore.

A POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE WIN-WIN PARTNERSHIP

Perhaps, there could be a better and more efficient alternative to donation of unused frozen eggs.

This could involve infertile women sponsoring the egg freezing of younger fertile women, in return for donation of some of their retrieved eggs, thus leading to a win-win situation for both parties concerned.

On one hand, this would remove the financial constraints on egg freezing for younger women with less accumulated savings and act as an incentive to encourage single women to freeze their eggs at a younger age, which could greatly improve their chances of future reproductive success.

On the other hand, infertile patients receive fresh egg donation from younger women, instead of unused frozen eggs of older women, which would significantly improve their chances of IVF success.

Moreover, such a “freeze and share” scheme would likely reduce the accumulation of surplus unused and unclaimed frozen eggs in storage.

It was reported a few years ago that infertile Singaporean women spend much money on commercialised egg donation overseas, since donated eggs are so difficult to obtain here.

Would it not be better if they instead spend their money in Singapore on subsidising egg freezing for single women in return for donated eggs?

In conclusion, there is a dire need for comprehensive legislation and clear directives for handling unused and unclaimed frozen eggs, if social egg freezing is to be permitted in Singapore.

Otherwise, this would likely lead to unnecessary disputes and unethical practices arising from legal loopholes, as well as undeclared and unresolved conflicts of interests.

Most importantly, these will protect the rights and welfare of patients.

https://singaporenewsnetwork.com/singapore/forum-social-egg-freezing-option-should-also-be-extended-to-married-women/

The government is presently considering to lift the ban on social egg freezing, as mooted by the Youth and Women’s wing of the ruling People’s Action Party, in response to the continual slide of the country’s fertility rate. However, virtually all discussion have so far focused on single women (either never married or divorced), with no talk of extending this elective procedure to married women.

Currently married women undergoing treatment at fertility clinics in Singapore, are expected to have all their retrieved eggs fertilized by their husband’s sperm to produce embryos, some of which are transferred into the patient’s womb, with excess embryos being frozen for future use. It is only under exceptional circumstances that IVF clinics would freeze the unfertilized eggs of married women.

Firstly, failure to obtain a usable sperm sample from the husband on the day of egg extraction surgery, for example ejaculation failure due to stress. Secondly, excess unfertilized eggs are allowed to be frozen, provided the couple have strong conscientious objections against the disposal (culling) of unused frozen embryos, which is perceived by some religions to be wanton destruction of human life.

Nevertheless, married women may want to undergo elective egg freezing due to certain personal circumstances. Most notably, women in the midst of undergoing a divorce may want to preserve their fertility.

Under Singapore law, three years of separation is required for divorce with both parties’ consent; while for contested divorce by one party, there is a mandatory separation period of four years. Even for divorce due to desertion by one spouse, there is a minimum waiting period of two years. Hence, such “legally still married” women maybe placed in limbo and be unable to undergo elective egg freezing for fertility preservation, even if the current ban on the procedure is lifted.

Moreover, it must be also be noted that not all women are financially ready to have children immediately or shortly after marriage. Due to high property prices and expensive childcare costs, some couples may prefer to delay childbearing to build up their savings to start a family. Current IVF regulations established by the Ministry of Health (MOH), are not conducive for such couples to preserve their fertility by freezing their embryos or unfertilized eggs.

Hence, it is imperative that current deliberations by the government to lift the ban on social egg freezing, should also consider married women under these circumstances.

https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_160205
The egg freezing conundrum in Singapore – not all social and ethical issues can be regulated by law

Unlike in the West, many Asian countries adopt conservative and traditionalist policies towards motherhood and female reproduction. In Singapore, official government policy explicitly discourages and penalises reproduction by single women and same-sex couples, by excluding them from tax rebates, housing, and childcare subsidies that are accessible only to traditional families formed by married heterosexual couples. To date, elective egg freezing for the fertility preservation of single women is still banned in Singapore, as the Government fears that permitting the procedure might encourage delayed marriage and childbearing among the younger generation.

In 2020, Singapore recorded its lowest ever Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 1.1. Although this anomaly may be partly attributed to disruption of normal social and economic life by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s TFR has been sliding downwards over the past few years, due to the increasing societal trend of late marriages and delayed childbearing within the country. This in turn has caused much consternation among government policymakers, as Singapore’s future economic prospects, social stability and available manpower for military conscription may be severely jeopardised by the impending transition into a super-aged society brought about by this demographic crunch.

To counter this worrying demographic trend, the Youth and Women’s wing of the ruling People’s Action Party called for lifting of the ban on social egg freezing, where eggs are harvested from single women and stored for future use without a medical need. Proponents of this elective medical procedure often point to the fact that the competitive and fast-paced society of modern Singapore, coupled with the high costs of living, childcare and education, exert unique pressures on women that make it difficult for them to start a family at a younger age. Instead many are forced to wait or prefer to wait until their financial situation becomes more secure with further career progression and accumulation of more savings.

Hence, the Singapore Government is presently considering lifting the ban on social egg freezing. Although this will undoubtedly be a boon to some women having difficulties in finding a suitable life partner, doubts have been raised on whether new reproductive technologies such as egg freezing could have any significant long-term impact in raising the country’s TFR. A few years ago, a Singaporean academic Dr Leong Chan Hoong (National University of Singapore Institute of Policy Studies) warned that Singapore’s IVF fertility drive that focused on a minority of older couples is largely symbolic and ultimately impotent. His warning seems to have been borne out by the continual slide of the country’s fertility rate, despite generous government subsidies of IVF treatment for married couples.

Lifting the ban on social egg freezing would require the Singapore government to draft comprehensive laws and regulations to address the various potential ethical problems and social issues associated with this elective medical procedure, as I wrote in an article in The Home Ground. Nevertheless, it is must be noted that not everything can be regulated by law.

One potential issue is the possibility of an increased generation gap between parents and children, and the reduced ability of older parents to cope with the physical rigors of raising young children. Moreover, there is also the unhappy prospect of young adults being burdened with the care of elderly parents, when they are just finishing their studies and embarking on their careers. Under Singapore law, it is obligatory for adult children to financially support their elderly parents. Hence delayed parenthood through egg freezing may not exactly be in the best interests of the child, and yet the child has no say or choice in this matter.

A potential social ill that is difficult to resolve is the frustration of single women who want to opt for single motherhood with their frozen eggs, after failing to find a suitable life partner. It must be noted that most single women who freeze their eggs, do so with the strong expectation of using them one day, regardless of their eventual marital status. Yet, there are strict laws that ban single women from undergoing IVF procedures in Singapore, which are near impossible to amend, given that both the Singapore Government and society-at-large are vehemently opposed to single motherhood by choice. If social egg freezing is permitted in Singapore, it is very likely that single women will be banned from exporting their frozen eggs abroad for IVF with donor sperm. This may possibly drive such single women with frozen eggs to undergo sham or temporary marriages out of desperation, to fulfill their dreams of motherhood. Otherwise, they have to face the agonising dilemma of disposing of their frozen eggs after spending so much of their hard-earned money as well as time and health risk, if they eventually decide to remain single rather than marry an incompatible life partner in order to be able to access IVF.

Then, there is also the unhappy prospect of some women being unable to conceive any children with their frozen eggs after spending so much money, and the consequent heartbreak and emotional distress that they have to undergo. No doubt, some laws and regulations can be implemented to weed out poor candidates for egg freezing, such as women above 40 years of age, or those with pertinent fertility problems. But at the end of the day, the results of egg freezing are still highly unpredictable, and there will definitely be some women who will fail to conceive children with their frozen eggs. Can any laws and regulations be drafted to provide consolation to these women?

Yet another contentious social issue is unequal accessibility to elective egg freezing, given the high costs of the procedure, which would likely make it unaffordable to poorer women. The only way to guarantee equal access to women of all socio-economic classes would be for the government to heavily subsidise it, which is difficult to justify, given that it is an elective medical procedure based on personal life choices that is not essential for sustenance of life or health. Hence to date, there is no country in the world where social egg freezing is being subsidised by the state. There are of course some employers who are willing to subsidise egg freezing for their workers, for example tech firms such as Apple and Facebook. Yet, such privileges are often restricted to highly-educated and high-value employees, which could spark accusations of elitism.

The spectre of employer-subsidised egg freezing thus brings about another potential social ill that is difficult to regulate by law, which is the unfair expectation that some employers place on women to put aside their plans of having kids, so that they can devote more of their time and energy to the company. There is probably a dark side to company perks on subsidised egg freezing for their female employees. The unwritten rule if such perks are around, is that female employees are expected not to take maternity leave and should deliberately delay having kids; or else they should expect to not be promoted, and be the first to be laid off when the opportunity arises.

To provide some financial assistance for egg freezing, Singapore may consider the much-vaunted freeze and share scheme that is available in some countries such as the UK and USA, which provides heavily subsidised egg freezing for single women in return for donation of some of their eggs to infertile patients. Nevertheless, such a scheme is unlikely to equalise accessibility of this expensive procedure to poorer and disadvantaged women. Because like commercialised egg donation, freeze and share is also subjected to market forces, and prospective recipient patients would definitely prefer certain desirable traits in donors, such as high education, good jobs, and beauty standards related to height and complexion. Hence, freeze and share is in fact highly-selective and would likely exclude poorer women with less education and fewer desirable traits.

Finally, there is also an increasing trend for single women to expect and demand their parents to help pay for social egg freezing, as highlighted by stories in the American news media. There is a subtle element of emotional blackmail here, as it would be like saying: ‘Help me pay to freeze my eggs, or you may never have any grandchildren’.

Therefore, it is just not enough for the Singapore Government to focus only on potential ethical problems and social ills that can be regulated by law. Instead, they should look at the ‘big picture’ and have a far-sighted holistic view of what permitting social egg freezing would entail for Singapore in the long-term, and its lasting ramifications on society.

Why corporate sponsorship of egg freezing may worsen workplace discrimination against women — a view from Singapore

https://bioedge.org/beginning-of-life-issues/ivf/why-corporate-sponsorship-of-egg-freezing-may-worsen-workplace-discrimination-against-women-a-view-from-singapore/

In recent years, there have been much news media hype on corporate sponsorship of social egg freezing by tech companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google. If the current ban on this procedure is lifted in Singapore, there is a strong likelihood that some local companies may follow suit and provide similar perks to their female employees. Nevertheless, this may be fraught with ethical problems.

Most, obviously not all, female employees within the same company will have equal access to such sponsorship. Given the high cost of the egg freezing procedure, such a privilege will likely be restricted to high-value female employees, particularly white-collar professionals in executive and managerial positions.

Lower level female employees such as secretaries, clerks and office ladies who deliver mail and serve coffee, would most likely be excluded. While there are genuine commercial reasons for companies to provide attractive executive perks to higher-level employees, for example to attract and retain talent, it is imperative to “call a spade a spade”.

That is, for taxation purposes, such selective perks should not be misclassified as non-taxable medical benefits. Instead, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) should ensure that corporate sponsorship of elective egg freezing should rightfully be declared as part of taxable income.

Nevetheless, even if fair taxation is imposed on “egg freezing perks”, the contentious issue of unequal accessibility to this expensive procedure remains with corporate sponsorship. This could in turn exacerbate inequality along socio-economic and racial lines in Singapore, and become a sore point for ethnic minorities in Singapore, who have long complained of discriminatory employment practices against them.

There are also other ethical challenges that are difficult to regulate by law. For example, if employers are willing to sponsor egg freezing for their high-value female employees, they may in fact have a hidden agenda of unfair and unreasonable expectations for these women to shove aside their plans of having kids earlier in life, so that they can devote more of their youth, time and energy to the company.

There is probably a dark side to corporate sponsorship of egg freezing, with the unwritten rule that if such perks are available, then higher-level female employees are expected to utilize them to delay childbearing, rather then take maternity leave; or else they will not be promoted, and be the first to be retrenched if the opportunity arises.

Moreover, the workload of some companies may require employees to work overtime after office hours, either from home or in office. Hence sponsoring elective egg freezing might be a strategy to avoid loss of productivity due to female employees needing to care for their young children after office hours.

For some higher-income female employees, it may in fact be cheaper for companies to sponsor just a single egg freezing cycle, rather than giving out 8 weeks of paid maternity leaves, as mandated by law in Singapore. Yet many women, even younger ones, often require multiple egg freezing cycles to obtain sufficient number of frozen eggs to have a reasonable chance of future pregnancy.

The offer of just one egg freezing cycle to female employees as a corporate perk, may thus be some kind of “cosmetic window-dressing” by companies to avoid the greater financial costs of 8 weeks of paid maternity leave.

Perhaps social egg freezing is such a contentious and “hot-button” issue in Singapore today due to inadequate workplace and childcare policies for young mothers trying to juggle career and family commitments.

An academic paper by lawyer Lauren Geisser stated that instead of refashioning the corporate norms of female employees sacrificing the full bloom of their youth and peak childbearing years for their employers, companies may find it in their best interest to offer egg freezing sponsorship at the expense of finding a long-term solution to sustaining long-term work-life balance and equality in the workplace.

Hence, she posited that corporate sponsorship of social egg freezing would implicitly assume that women will continue to bear the brunt of childcare and that the workplace will continue to be incompatible with pregnancy and motherhood, thus providing an empty solution of deferring childbirth via elective egg freezing.

Such views were echoed by law professor Seema Mohapatra who wrote in her article “If professional workplaces were hospitable places for women to have babies while they were younger and less financially established, it is unlikely that egg freezing would hold such appeal.” Likewise, journalist Nitasha Tiku sarcastically quipped that women may feel pressured to use the egg freezing benefit, “just like everyone feels pressured to always be on call to the office, always check email, [and] always have a smartphone in hand.”

Rather, the lavish sponsorship of egg freezing being offered may actually exist as a ploy to recruit and retain talented female employees, and keep them in “golden handcuffs” to their desks.

In conclusion, there is a risk that corporate sponsorship of elective egg freezing might inadvertently worsen workplace discrimination against women, in the form of unequal access to such benefits by female employees within the same company, as well as unreasonable expectations by employers for their female employees to devote more of their youth and time to the company by delaying plans to having children earlier in life.

If the Singapore Government were to lift the current ban on social egg freezing, stringent safeguards are thus needed to regulate corporate sponsorship of elective egg freezing.

https://www.ucanews.com/news/the-risks-of-sponsorship-of-social-egg-freezing/95146

The risks of sponsorship of social egg freezing

The drastic slide in Singapore’s fertility rate over the past few years, further aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic, has raised deep concerns over the country’s future economic prospects and social stability.

To address this problem, there has been much debate on lifting the current ban on social egg freezing in Singapore, a procedure whereby an unmarried woman freezes her eggs for future use to counteract the steep decline in female fertility after her mid-30s.

Proponents often point to the increasing societal trend of late marriages and delayed childbearing within the country as necessitating the use of this elective medical procedure by single women. Indeed, both the Youth and Women’s wing of Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party have called on the government to lift its longstanding ban on social egg freezing.

Nevertheless, the high costs of this procedure would be rather challenging to the personal finances of many single women. If social egg freezing is eventually permitted in Singapore, it is very unlikely that the government will subsidize this elective procedure, given that it is not essential for sustenance of life or health but is instead attributed to personal life choices.

However, it is possible that some local companies may follow the example of US tech firms such as Apple, Google and Facebook in sponsoring elective egg freezing for female employees. This has aroused much media hype as a step towards gender equality in the corporate workplace.

There are three major objectives for a company to sponsor egg freezing. Firstly, to attract and retain talented female professionals and executives. Secondly, to enhance the corporate image of the company as having pro-family policies, as well as being supportive of women’s rights and gender equality. Lastly, to covertly encourage or even subtly coerce talented female employees to delay childbearing so that they can devote more of their youth and time to the company.

There may be an unwritten rule that if egg freezing benefits are available, then it should be utilized by female employees to delay having children, or else if they fall pregnant and take maternity leave, then they should expect to be skipped for promotion and be the first to be retrenched when the opportunity arises.

Nevertheless, there are a number of compelling arguments on why company sponsorship of egg freezing could be a bad human resources management practice.

First and foremost, this may contravene the much-cherished maxim of equal pay for equal work (or equal job performance), which is the underlying linchpin of corporate meritocracy. If a high-value or high-performing female employee within a company can be granted sponsorship for this expensive medical procedure, how about male employees of similar rank and equal job performance record? Don’t they deserve to be given other benefits in lieu that are of equivalent monetary value? How about married female employees in similar positions who already have children and no longer have any need for egg freezing?

At the end of the day, corporations are beholden to shareholders and obliged to focus on profitability. They should strictly evaluate and pay for work done by employees, rather than getting involved in personal decisions and broader gender-based social issues.

Second, corporate perks and fringe benefits are being subjected to increasing scrutiny by tax authorities and auditors worldwide due to the rising numbers of corruption and tax evasion cases associated with lavish corporate perks.

As a result of increasingly stringent tax laws and requirement for good accounting standards, there is a growing trend for companies to cut down on employee perks and fringe benefits while placing greater emphasis on direct monetary remuneration in the form of salaries and bonuses to ensure greater fiscal transparency and better corporate governance.

Third, company sponsorship of egg freezing can potentially damage camaraderie and collegiality within the company. As mentioned earlier, male colleagues of similar rank and job performance may resent not being granted other benefits in lieu of egg freezing. Moreover, because companies are likely to restrict egg freezing benefits to only a few selected high-value female employees, this could provoke strong resentment from lower-level female employees who are being denied such benefits.

A clerk or receptionist can easily accept that her female superior is being paid more than her due to simple market economics, but can she also readily accept being denied egg freezing benefits given to her superior which she herself may so desperately want? Certainly, this could cause much resentment and demoralization, thereby disrupting collegiality and camaraderie within the company. According to a proverb: “One eats, another watches; that breeds resentment.”

Last but not least, corporate sponsorship of egg freezing may be sending the wrong signal to both the public and company staff by giving the impression (whether true or not) that the company workplace is not conducive for pregnancy, motherhood and work-life balance, which is why such benefits are being offered to selected female employees in the first place. Hence, this may inadvertently be damaging to the corporate image of the company itself.

In conclusion, corporate sponsorship of egg freezing should be seen as a bad human resources management practice. Companies should think twice before offering egg freezing benefits to selected female employees, given the various potential problems that it might cause.

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