News

Hope for a price

Because she has no medical reasons to store her eggs here, she had to fork out almost $10,000 and travel to another country to store her hope of becoming a mother.

That amount does not include the RM$1,000 (S$375) a year to keep them in storage.

Jane (not her real name) was then turning 40 and knew her eggs "were fighting a losing battle against my biological clock".

The 44-year-old sales director told a women's magazine: "I want to get married some day and start a family, but Mr Right has been elusive so far."

She flew to a fertility centre in Malaysia and produced 13 mature eggs in one round of stimulation, which takes about two weeks.

At least three other single, professional, Singapore women have gone to countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Australia to freeze their eggs, The New Paper on Sunday understands.

The women, aged between 33 and 42, have all declined to be interviewed, citing privacy reasons.

A check with overseas fertility centres show that there is a demand for the service from Singapore women.

In reply to e-mail queries, e-stork Fertility Centerin Taiwanconfirms it has one Singaporean customer.

Its spokesman says the procedure costs NT$110,000 (S$5,000) for the first cycle and discounted thereafter.

An additional NT$8,000 a year is charged for storage services.

FROZEN IN NEW YORK

In the US, New York University Fertility Center froze the eggs of three Singaporean women in 2013.

Its programme director, infertility treatment specialist James Grifo, told The New Paper on Sunday via a phone interview that the cost of the egg-freezing procedure, including medication and cycle charge, can total up to US$20,000 (S$27,000). Storage services cost US$1,000 a year.

Sunfert International Fertility Centre in Selangor and Alpha Fertility Centre in Kuala Lumpur have each frozen eggs from two Singapore women since 2011 and in 2013 respectively, a report says.

Another fertility centre in Kuala Lumpur says inquiries from Singapore women have increased over the past four years. It receives one to two inquiries a month.

Its co-ordinatorsays that to date, at least 10 Singapore women have made the trip there for a discussion. Most of them were 37 years old and above.

"They are already at an advanced age, so the chances are low," she says.

"Many said they were freezing their eggs because 'I've not found a man yet, but who knows, maybe I can find one at 45 and I want to have a baby then'."

The procedure is estimated to cost about RM 15,000 per cycle.

"Those who are younger cannot afford it. By the time they can afford it, they are too old," she says.

Fertility clinics here have also seen more inquiries from local women about social egg-freezing.

Dr Ann Tan, an obstetrician and gynaecologist with Women & Fetal Centre, says that she gets a handful of inquiries every month, whereas there were none three years ago.