Freezing eggs could reverse falling birth rate

PHOTO: Freezing eggs could reverse falling birth rate

Fertility experts suggested allowing healthy young women to freeze their eggs for future use to address Singapore's falling birth rate.

According to The Straits Times, how old a woman's eggs are is also more important than her age. Hence, freezing eggs while a woman is at the peak of her fertility can allow her to put off having children until later in life.

In Singapore, only women who may lose their fertility through medical treatments such as chemotherapy are allowed to undergo the procedure.

Fertility experts told the English daily that Singapore's laws should be amended to allow social egg freezing, where women with no medical condition can freeze their eggs while they are in their late 20s or early 30s, allowing them to defer motherhood until later in life.

This could even help to reverse the decline in Singapore's birth rate.

However, the best way is still for women to conceive naturally at a young age, the experts said.

A fertility expert said women in Singapore should be given the option of social egg freezing, especially with the low fertility rate and rise in age of marriage.

There were also good results from major centres in United States, Canada and Spain.

A medical director at the Thomson Fertility Centre said the increasing number of Singaporean women marrying after 30 years old caused fertility and birth rates to slump to their lowest levels last year.

According to The Straits Times, it is harder for a woman to conceive after she gets older, and there are higher risks of a miscarriage and other forms of abnormality in the baby.

Hence, those who wish to marry later or are pursuing a career may find this option appealing.

One cycle of egg collection costs between $5,000 and $15,000. Storing the eggs costs between $250 and $300 a year.

According to a Scottish study released two years ago, women lose 88 per cent of their eggs by the time they are 30. They only have about three per cent of their eggs left when they reach 40.

The latest techniques show that thawed eggs have the same rate of fertilisation as those which are freshly harvested, an expert said.

They are also less likely to have abnormalities that often lead to miscarriages in older women.