Learn which regulations have been removed and how it impacts you.
The Singapore Government recently announced the removal of the upper age limit for women to undergo IVF treatment in Singapore, as well as the cap on the number of cycles of treatment. The change will take effect in January 2020.
What impact does this have on your options?
The biggest impact is on women over the age of 45.
Present regulations only allow women under the age of 45 to have IVF in Singapore. Furthermore, there is a maximum of 10 cycles of treatment, or 5 cycles if treatment begins after age 40.
In the past, women over the age of 45 would often seek IVF treatment overseas, meaning that they would add travel to an already stressful situation.
Starting January 2020, local Assisted Reproduction clinics and hospitals are able to provide assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures to these women.
More immediately, women over the age of 45 who wish to have IVF treatment before 1 January 2020, can appeal to the MOH through their Assisted Reproduction practitioner.
Similarly, MOH has indicated that they will be flexible with patients who reach the current cycle limits before the implementation date of these changes.
Why have the regulations changed?
The reason for the change in regulations is the trend toward marrying later, and acknowledging that older women may need more help to conceive.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) conducted a review showing an improvement in the safety of assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures. With these developments, the medical risks for women over 45 undergoing ART procedures have reduced significantly.
Furthermore, MOH recognises that patient needs differ, and some women need more IVF cycles than was previously allowed. MOH also stated that the risks associated with pregnancy at an advanced maternal age have also become more manageable, so long as the woman’s fitness to carry a pregnancy is carefully assessed in the initial medical evaluation.
Are there any risks you should take note of?
Remember – fertility declines with age. Hence, the removal of age restrictions do not necessarily lead to more successful pregnancy and childbirth. Nonetheless, the removal of the maximum age limit allows patients to make an informed choice about their ART treatment and increase their options.
In countries where there are no age limits for IVF and publish statistics, success rates of IVF at age 45 using the women’s own eggs are generally very low, at less than 5% (2.8%, Australia and New Zealand, 2016, 3.9% for women aged more than 42, USA, 2016, 2-4-5.5%, women over 44, UK, 2019).
However, if donor eggs are used, the success rates are much higher (23.9%, Australia and New Zealand 2016, 22.1-26.2%, UK, 2019).
The reason for this is that egg donors are usually younger women, mostly in their 20s or early 30s. The most important factor in IVF success is the age of the egg used in that cycle of treatment, therefore with donor eggs from a younger woman, the chances of success are much higher than using their own eggs.
In Singapore, donor eggs can be used for fertility treatment.
If you’re a hopeful parent and over the age of 45, IVF is now an option for you in Singapore.
Contact your Assisted Reproduction practitioner or get in touch with us at ACRM for a fertility screening, and allow us to craft a fertility plan together with you and your husband.