Forum: Allow use of CPF to pay for egg freezing

Posed photo of a pregnant woman. PHOTO: ST FILE

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 and not a medical necessity, unlike in-vitro fertilisation for infertile couples.

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.

Alexis Heng Boon Chin (Dr)

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 25, 2019, with the headline Forum: Allow use of CPF to pay for egg freezing. Subscribe