The announcement of legalising egg freezing in Singapore came as a shock to several citizens. The country will soon be allowing even single women to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons to preserve their fertility. Before this, interested couples sought preservation treatments in other countries.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Legalising Egg Freezing in Singapore
- Culture and Tradition Against Legalising Egg Freezing
- Reactions of Singaporeans to the Legalisation of Egg Freezing
Egg freezing involves collecting a woman’s eggs from her ovaries. They will be storing them in a state of a deep freeze and thaw them at a later stage. Eggs will be put together with sperm, hoping that an embryo forms and pregnancy develops.
Legalising Egg Freezing in Singapore
After years of deliberation, Singapore will soon allow women to freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons. All women ages 21 to 35 can undergo elective egg freezing to preserve their eggs regardless of their marital status.
Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Social and Family Development, said, “We recognise that there may be women who are not able to find a suitable partner when they are younger, but they still wish to be able to preserve the likelihood of conceiving when they marry later.”
However, she emphasised the value of “adequate safeguards” to ensure that women will be able to make informed choices.
The Caveats of Elective Egg Freezing in Singapore
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While Singapore finally welcomes elective egg freezing, authorities still require caveats before making the policies completely inclusive. Ms Shailey Hingaroni is the Aware’s head of Research and Advocacy. She also said that several caveats are “disappointing.”
A month ago, the government made a significant announcement on elective egg freezing during a ground-breaking move. They said that they would be allowing women between 21 to 35 to freeze their eggs.
However, people interested in this procedure must be aware of the caveats. People can only use the eggs if and when they are legally married. It excludes single women who may want to raise children outside of marriage. Aside from that, Singaporean law on egg freezing excludes same-sex couples who cannot get married.
Then and Now
Before, with few exceptions, Singapore banned egg-freezing in the country. It was the primary reason why some Singaporeans needed to go to another country to get their eggs frozen.
The best solution for women before is to go to other countries like Thailand and Malaysia to freeze their eggs. They aim to ensure meeting someone is not something they shall rush for the sake of having children. Going overseas is the only option women in Singapore had to undergo egg-freezing before.
According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, only 475 American women underwent egg-freezing in 2009. Nine years later, the number increased by more than 2500%, which means 13,275 women underwent the procedure.
At present, egg freezing has become increasingly popular globally. Women in Singapore began speaking up against the ban on egg freezing in the country.
The ‘My Eggs My Time’ Campaign
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In 2021, a woman started the “My Eggs My Time” campaign. It aims to call the attention of the authorities in Singapore to legalise egg freezing in the country.
According to Emma, the woman behind the “My Eggs My Time” campaign,
“The response [was] overwhelmingly positive. I received floods of messages from women sharing their stories on why they wanted to freeze their eggs.”
She first raised the matter of egg freezing in Singapore in 2016. However, people are not yet ready to ride the wave during that time. According to her, people were like,
“What is this? You’re too modern for us.”
People start opening themselves to it along the way, and there’s been a lot more conversation.
“Last year [after I brought this topic up], I could really see a big difference [in reactions]. I got many more emails thanking me,” said Emma.
Numbers of people started welcoming the reality that egg freezing could help boost the country’s fertility rate. Singapore was among the lowest fertility in the world. Concerning this, Singapore stood at a historic low of 1.1 babies per woman. It is low compared to a global average of 2.4.
Culture and Tradition Against Legalising Egg Freezing
Singapore is one of the world’s most modern cities. However, despite its modernity, this country is still deeply conservative. It occurs especially around its concept of family, which is the “basic building blocks of society.”
Ms Hingorani said that the state primarily tries to push forward a “limited definition of family… traditionally defined as a father, mother and their children.”
The citizens asked for plans on changing the caveats mentioned above. Concerning this, the country’s public policy “encourages parenthood within marriage,” said a spokesperson from Singapore’s Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
Ms Hingorani added this was “disappointing, but not surprising” and has called for Singapore to “make elective egg freezing accessible to all regardless of marital status, financial capacity and educational status.”
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