Egg Freezing

What Is Egg Freezing?

Oocyte cryopreservation, also called egg freezing, is a way for women to preserve their fertility. It involves extracting, freezing, and storing their eggs (oocytes). It is an increasingly popular option for women who want to delay childbirth (elective/social egg freezing) for various reasons, or preserve their fertility for medical reasons (medical egg freezing). Medical egg freezing is typically used when a woman has been diagnosed with cancer or another medical condition that may affect her fertility. In these cases, egg freezing can help preserve her fertility so that she may still have the opportunity to become pregnant in the future. On the other hand, elective egg freezing is done for non-medical reasons, such as delaying starting a family due to career or lifestyle choices.

Why Do Some Women Consider Egg Freezing?

While egg freezing does not guarantee a successful pregnancy, it can give women more control over their reproductive health and timeline. Here are some common reasons why some women consider egg freezing:

  • To Delay Childbearing
    Many women choose to freeze their eggs in order to delay childbearing. This could be due to career or educational goals that they want to pursue before starting a family, or simply because they are still not mentally or financially prepared for the responsibility of having children. As women's fertility naturally declines with age, egg freezing provides them the opportunity to put off having children until they feel ready to do so.
  • Medical Conditions Affecting Fertility
    Egg freezing can also be used as a way for women with fertility issues to increase their chances of conceiving later on. Women who have been diagnosed with cancer may choose to freeze their eggs before undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments, which can cause infertility. Egg freezing can also be used by women who may be starting to experience premature ovarian failure or other conditions that affect fertility.
  • To Reduce Stress and Anxiety
    Egg freezing can reduce stress and anxiety associated with trying to conceive later in life when fertility has decreased significantly. Knowing that you have healthy eggs stored away can provide peace of mind to focus on other aspects of your life without constantly worrying about your reproductive health and feeling like you are racing against time.
  • To Improve Chances of Successful Pregnancy
    By storing multiple healthy eggs earlier on, egg freezing can improve the chances of a successful pregnancy later on when the woman is ready for it because the risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities is lower with decreasing maternal age. The frozen eggs are carefully thawed and fertilized in a laboratory before being implanted into the uterus, increasing the chances that one or more embryos will successfully implant and result in a successful pregnancy.

What is the Process of Egg Freezing in Singapore?

The egg freezing process begins with hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once the eggs have matured, they are retrieved transvaginally through a minor surgical procedure called oocyte pick up (OPU). The eggs are then inspected by an embryologist and only the viable healthy ones are frozen using a special technique called vitrification. The frozen eggs can then be stored indefinitely until the patient is ready to use them.

When the patient is ready to use her frozen eggs, they will be thawed and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory setting to create embryos. These embryos can then be transferred into the uterus where implantation may occur resulting in pregnancy. It is important to note that while egg freezing allows women to preserve their fertility, it does not always guarantee a successful pregnancy.

Rules & Restrictions

Egg freezing in Singapore has become a popular topic of discussion in recent years as women increasingly explore options to preserve their fertility. As the egg freezing process in Singapore is subject to certain restrictions and regulations, here are some to take note of:

  • Legal Restrictions
    Up until recently, egg freezing in Singapore was only permitted for medical reasons, such as prior to undergoing cancer treatment, which can adversely affect one’s fertility; or if one has a family history of early menopause. Previously, women who wished to undergo the procedure for elective or social reasons, such as delaying childbirth for personal reasons, were not allowed to do so. However, it has recently been legalised that women – including single women – can choose to do elective egg freezing in Singapore.
  • Age Limit
    In May 2023, Singapore raised its age limit for elective egg freezing from 35 to 37 in order to allow more women access to the service. It is capped at 37 years old as the quality of eggs have been found to decline substantially after this age.

What are Some Factors Affecting the Success of An Egg Freezing Procedure?

The probability of successful egg freezing is influenced by various factors, such as:

What are Some Things to Consider Before Going for An Egg Freezing Procedure?

As with all medical procedures, there are some risks involved. With egg freezing, risks may include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), infection, as well as bleeding and damage to the ovaries or uterus. However, the chances of these happening are rare in the hands of an experienced egg freezing doctor.

Additionally, there is no guarantee that the eggs will survive the thawing process or result in a successful pregnancy.

It is also important to consider the cost of egg freezing. The procedure can be expensive and may not be covered by insurance. Additionally, storage fees for frozen eggs can add up over time and should be considered when deciding where to freeze one’s eggs and the duration one wishes to freeze their eggs for.

How Much Does Egg Freezing Cost in Singapore?

The main factor determining the cost of egg freezing is whether you opt to do it at a public or private hospital. Other factors include: the number of eggs retrieved, the number of egg retrieval cycles one has undergone, as well as annual storage fees for the frozen eggs.

Generally speaking, the cost per egg retrieval cycle at public hospitals is between $7,000 to $9,000 on average; with an annual storage charge of approximately $500.

At private clinics and hospitals, the average cost per egg retrieval cycle can range from around $10,000 to $15,000 on average; with an annual storage charge of approximately $900.

Finally, when the time comes to use the eggs, one will also have to factor in the cost of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) as the thawed eggs will have to be fertilized with sperm in the fertility centre. The resulting embryos will then be transferred into the woman’s uterus in hope of achieving a successful implantation and pregnancy.