Fertility Preservation Egg freezing Singapore

Taking empowerment steps towards preserving your fertility. Now, elective egg freezing may be considered for the right time for you and your life situation. Our little red dot of Singapore joins the world of fertility preservation options for women.

Good news! Starting July 1, 2023, Elective Egg Freezing (EEF) in Singapore, also known as, social egg freezing, is available for women ages 21-37 years regardless of marital status.

Elective egg freezing or social egg freezing is a method to preserve and store a woman’s eggs for her reproductive future and to help her achieve pregnancy later. Freezing one’s eggs, or social egg freezing, gives you options and enables reproductive choices on your terms.

Just because your body is biologically at its peak for conceiving, doesn’t mean your mind or life situation is in the same place. (To freeze one’s eggs (oocyte) the presence of sperm is not needed, and therefore, the presence of a partner is not required.)

Considerations to Freeze Your Eggs

Elective egg freezing for the right time for you.

Egg freezing is a method of storing a women’s unfertilised eggs and maybe undertaken for elective/social or medical reasons. Up until recent, women in Singapore, were allowed to freeze their eggs for medical reasons only.

If you would like to expand your reproductive options to have a family one day and preserve your younger, possibly healthier eggs, but not quite ready due to career, relationship or other reasons then choosing to have your eggs frozen may be an option.

What is Egg Freezing?

  • Egg freezing is a method of collecting, preserving, and storing your unfertilised eggs. Your eggs are frozen through a process called vitrification, which means they are frozen in time. Your frozen eggs can be stored until you’re ready to use them. They are stored safely in our lab until you determine if you need to use them. Transport and transfer of eggs from Singapore to other countries may be done so after 3 years.

Your eggs, time and chances of conceiving.

  • Egg quality and quantity declines with age. Younger eggs, in general, tend to be healthier. You can’t put a pause on your biological clock – but you can freeze your eggs, because frozen eggs don’t age.
  • Your chances of conceiving with your frozen eggs when you’re older are the same as your chance of natural conception when you froze your eggs. Age is the most important determinant of IVF success. If you choose to use your frozen eggs to conceive in the future, the chances of successful IVF treatment will be based on the age at which you froze your eggs. For example: if you freeze your eggs at 30, then decide to use them when you’re 35 – you have the same chance as a 30-year-old to achieve a pregnancy. One of the most important things to eggs is time. Ultimately, the younger you freeze your eggs, the better.

Monash IVF pioneered egg freezing and in 1999, Monash IVF achieved the world’s first birth from a vitrified (frozen) egg. The egg was frozen using a process called vitrification where the egg is snap frozen. A technique developed by Alan Trounson, Deputy Director for Monash University Institute of Reproductive Development at the SISMER IVF Centre in Bologna, Italy, and previous Scientific Director for Monash IVF.

Since then, there’s been significant advances in the egg freezing techniques – meaning your chances of taking a baby home using your frozen eggs are better than ever.

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When should I freeze my eggs?

Under 25 years of age

  • Age is the biggest indicator of fertility potential however if you’re under 25 years old, it’s unlikely you need to worry. If you’re within this age bracket, egg freezing may not be recommended because the quantity and quality of your ovarian reserve is high. However, if you are concerned about pre-existing family conditions, medical or lifestyle factors that may be impacting your fertility you should speak with one of our fertility nurses or book an appointment with a fertility specialist for personalised guidance.

Age 25 – 30

  • Fertility declines with age, so it’s a good idea to be proactive about your fertility when you’re younger. Ultimately, the younger you freeze your eggs – the better. If you’re considering egg freezing, or just want to have your fertility assessed, speak with one of our nurses or book an appointment with a fertility specialist for expert advice.

Age 31 – 38

  • Early-mid 30s is the most common age that patients decide to freeze their eggs. Evidence shows that there’s a sharp decline in fertility after the age of 35 and Egg production starts declining after age 35. The takeaway? It’s important to have the conversations with medical professionals early and put a plan in place to preserve your fertility.

If you’re between 35-38 years old and want to have a baby one day but are not ready yet – it’s important you see a fertility specialist. It’s better to understand the options available to you when you’re younger, to avoid disappointment and heartache in the future.

Age 39+

  • By the time a person with eggs reaches the age of 40, their chance of getting pregnant naturally drops to around 5% each month. If you’re older than 39 years of age, egg freezing may not be suitable for you. If you’re within this age bracket and considering egg freezing, you don’t have any time to waste. Please see a fertility specialist to understand the options available to you.

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Choosing to freeze your eggs doesn’t mean you’re robbing yourself of viable eggs from your egg supply (ovarian reserve). Some people who freeze their eggs fall pregnant naturally, or choose to use their frozen eggs for baby number 2 or 3.

Why freeze my eggs?

Everyone’s reasons for choosing to freeze their eggs are different. Common reasons for egg freezing include:

Personal circumstances

  • I want to have a baby one day, but I’m not ready to be a parent yet.
  • I’m focusing on my studies, career or travelling the world and will postpone parenthood for a few more years.
  • I’ve recently broken up with a long-term partner that I was planning to start a family with.
  • I’ve got health concerns that might be a threat to my fertility, like severe endometriosis or a cancer diagnosis.
  • I haven’t found the right person to settle down with yet.
  • I’m not sure if I actually want to have kids – but I want to keep my options open.
  • I’ll try to conceive naturally for my first baby, but I want to have a big family and I know I’ll be older by the time I’m ready for more children. I’m planning on using my frozen eggs for baby number 2, 3 etc.

Your age

  • I’ve just had a significant birthday and know my biological clock is ticking, but my lifestyle isn’t suited for having a baby yet.

Whatever your reason for freezing your eggs, we’re here to help you explore if it’s right for you.

Egg Freezing for Medical Reasons

Women who are going through medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiology, which may impact their fertility health and fertility organs, may want to consider freezing their eggs before medical treatment begins.

Women who may have a history to genetic conditions and who may be at risk for cancer, may opt to freeze their eggs.

The egg freezing process

Step 1: Investigations, Planning & Stimulation

During every monthly cycle, eggs grow in fluid-filled sacs (called follicles) on the ovaries. Only one egg will mature and be released through ovulation. The rest will be naturally reabsorbed. The egg freezing process – as with an IVF cycle – helps more eggs to mature.

To do this, you’ll take hormone medication for eight to 14 days to help stimulate your ovaries. Your fertility specialist will discuss the best medications and stimulation techniques for you. This medication usually takes the form of hormone injections using a tiny needle under the skin.

The idea of injecting yourself can feel daunting at first – we completely understand this. That’s why your fertility nurse will take you through the process step-by-step, showing you exactly how and where to give the injections. During the stimulation period, you’ll be monitored via blood tests and ultrasounds.

Step 2: Egg Collection

When your eggs are ready to be collected, you’ll visit the Monash IVF Singapore centre for a short procedure. You’ll be sedated, so you won’t feel a thing. The procedure itself only takes around 10-15 minutes, but we tell patients to expect 30 minutes. Afterwards, you’ll wake up in recovery, where we’ll keep you warm and comfortable. You can usually go home an hour or two later.

During the procedure, our fertility specialist extracts the fluid from the follicles on your ovaries (where the eggs grow). The eggs are extracted vaginally, so there are no cuts or scars. Please bring a guardian along as you won’t be able to drive after this procedure.

Step 3: Egg freezing

Once your eggs have been collected, your fertility specialist and theatre team passes them directly to our scientists. These skilled scientists recover the eggs and identify the mature eggs to be frozen. We only freeze mature eggs – immature eggs are not viable or ready to create embryos.

Your eggs are frozen in the lab using a method called vitrification, or snap freezing. We decrease the water content in the eggs to prevent damage to them when they’re frozen.

Scientifically, there’s no time limit on how long eggs can stay frozen. But the time can vary depending on each country’s legislation which may impose statutory storage limits. The great news is our team can help you with determining Singapore’s time limit for storage and can help with extensions of storage if needed. Rest assured we are here for you long term.

Egg Freezing Cost – What to expect

At MONASH IVF Singapore, our Elective Egg Freezing (EEF) package is $5,400* and includes:

  • Anaesthetist Fee
  • OPU charges
  • Operating Theatre charges
  • Recovery Room charges
  • Oocyte Freezing (Vitrification)
  • Freezing of unlimited eggs
  • Oocyte storage charges for 3 years

*The Elective Egg Freezing package excludes Fertility Specialist fee, medication, Non-Standard anaesthesia drugs, and prevailing GST.

It’s to be noted that in Singapore, EEF is not subsidised or co-funded and the use of Medisave is not allowed. However, a couple may still be eligible to use their Medisave when using eggs frozen via EEF for Assisted Reproductive treatment in the future. It’s best to speak to our fertility team for the most up-to-date costs relevant to your circumstances.

Common egg freezing questions

Scientifically, there’s no time limit on how long eggs can stay frozen. You may transfer your eggs from Singapore to another country after three years.

Once the eggs have been collected and our scientists have determined which eggs are mature, your eggs are frozen. Mature eggs are frozen by first exposing them to a cryoprotective solution and then freezing very rapidly using a process called vitrification. Each egg is individually frozen and stored.

When you decide to use your frozen eggs to try for a pregnancy, our team of scientists will thaw your eggs to create embryos with your chosen source of sperm (be it donor sperm, or the sperm of a partner). Thawing involves the quick warming of the frozen eggs to 37oC and the removal of the cryoprotective solution. After a short period of recovery, the eggs are then suitable for insemination, usually by injecting a single sperm into the egg. After fertilization, embryo culture is performed using standard procedure. You will then be able to undergo an embryo transfer.

You should consider egg freezing if:

  • You’re not in a position to have a baby right now but would like the opportunity to start a family beyond the age when fertility naturally declines (i.e. 35 years of age).
  • There is a threat to your fertility, such as severe endometriosis, cancer diagnosis, low ovarian reserve, or major abdominal surgery.

Generally, people in their 20s and early 30s are relatively fertile with their ovaries still containing good numbers of healthy eggs. Egg freezing can be a viable option for people at this age.

People in their late 30s generally have lower quality eggs and a lower number of eggs. If you’re in this age bracket, egg freezing may be less suitable, as there is a chance only a small number of suitable eggs will be collected for freezing.

The success of egg freezing is based on the number and quality of the eggs collected, and that in turn is heavily dependent on your age. Everybody is different and responds differently to treatment, so the number and quality of eggs collected will vary. Consequently, to obtain sufficient eggs for a good chance of pregnancy using frozen eggs, you may need to undergo multiple egg collections. There are instances where no eggs may be collected or suitable for freezing, despite everyone’s best efforts. Recent international research has indicated that, on a per thawed oocyte basis, the use of frozen eggs has the potential to give similar pregnancy results as using freshly collected eggs. Published results suggest a single pregnancy may be produced on average from about 10-15 eggs. Speak to a fertility specialist for advice about your unique chances of success based on your clinical circumstances.

You may have heard egg freezing referred to as an ‘insurance policy for your fertility’ – but sometimes frozen eggs do not result in a successful pregnancy, and sometimes we are unable to collect any eggs suitable for freezing. Like any procedure, there are risks associated with egg freezing. It is important that you are educated about these risks before starting treatment.

Some of the risks associated with egg freezing include:

  • No eggs may be collected.
  • The failure of frozen eggs to survive the freeze/thaw process.
  • The failure of thawed eggs to fertilise after insemination.
  • The failure of fertilised eggs to develop.
  • The embryos formed may not be suitable for transfer.
  • The embryos that are transferred may not result in a pregnancy.
  • Failure of an established pregnancy to result in a live birth.

When you see a fertility specialist, they can explain the risks of egg freezing to you in more detail. It important to emphasize that natural conception is best for potentially fertile women as any assisted reproductive treatment (ART) technique can carry an element of risk and overall success rates may be lower than natural conception. All ART involves invasive medical procedures and should only be used when necessary, and after proper consideration of the risks and benefits.

The storage of frozen eggs by presumably fertile people does not guarantee a subsequent pregnancy, irrespective of the number of eggs frozen. It must be emphasized that assisted reproductive treatment is not always successful. Our Monash IVF Singapore team works incredibly hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for our patients, however, it may eventuate that you are unable to fall pregnant using your frozen eggs.

Egg freezing for elective reasons at Monash IVF Singapore and in Singapore is restricted to women between 21 -37 years of age regardless of marital status.

Egg freezing using the vitrification technique has been around for decades and there have been thousands of babies conceived world-wide using this technique. To date there have been no reports of adverse obstetric or perinatal outcomes. However, this remains a relatively recent technique and we will continue to closely monitor our results and those from overseas.

Egg freezing investigations with our fertility specialists

If you see a fertility specialist to discuss egg freezing, they’ll undertake some initial fertility testing to determine whether egg freezing is necessary and the best option for you.

Tests and screenings prior to egg freezing may include:

Antimullerian Hormone Test (AMH)

  • This is a blood test that measures the levels of Antimullerian Hormone (AMH) in your blood. AMH is a hormone produced by cells in the follicles in your ovaries. Your AMH level is an indicator of your ovarian reserve.

Pelvic Ultrasound

  • This is an internal ultrasound during the follicular stage of your menstrual cycle – between day 5 to day 9 of your cycle. This ultrasound will show how many follicles you have the Antral Follicle Count (AFC), and can help assess the anatomy of your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Your pelvic ultrasound should be completed by a fertility specialist.

Other Hormone and blood tests

  • These are blood tests to measure the levels of your reproductive hormones. Some of the hormones that might be tested include follicular stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin hormone or thyroid stimulating hormone; and standard blood tests in Singapore including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and Rubella (within the last 10 years) will also be done.

Screening For Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

  • STIs can have a significant impact on your fertility, particularly if they are left untreated. STI screening is a routine part of fertility investigations in Singapore and include HIV and Syphilis (VDRL) screenings.

How to get started?

1. Chat to a fertility nurse over the phone

Book a complimentary phone chat with a fertility nurse to discuss egg freezing. Our team of fertility nurses can answer any questions you have, walk you through the process, and can discuss costs with you. Book a complimentary nurse chat here.

2. See a fertility specialist

Schedule an appointment with one a Monash IVF Singapore fertility specialist. When you see a fertility specialist, they’ll undertake some initial testing to determine whether egg freezing is the best option for you. If you decide to proceed with egg freezing, they will tailor a treatment plan to your individual circumstances. Book an appointment with a fertility specialist here.

3. Freeze your eggs

After you’ve completed some paperwork and met with the team, you’re ready to get started!

Your fertility specialist will prescribe some stimulation medication, which you’ll take in the lead-up to your procedure. The egg retrieval itself is a short day procedure. It only takes around 30 minutes and you’ll be completely sedated.

Once your eggs are collected, the scientists in the lab assess each one for quality. They only freeze mature eggs. Mature eggs give you the very best chance of a successful pregnancy down the track.