The Cost Of Infertility In Singapore
As young urban couples race ahead in their careers, the thought of setting up a family may take a backseat. Yet, our ‘biological clocks’ don’t stop ticking just because we aren’t quite ready for the baby, and some couples may face the challenge of conceiving just when they have got everything prepared to welcome a new member into the family.
Of course, age is not the only factor in fertility and there are other health conditions and lifestyle choices that can reduce fertility rates. What, then, are the options for those who need that extra help in boosting their chances of having a baby?
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
The IVF process involves the fertilization of eggs with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are then placed in the woman’s uterus and a successful pregnancy can be confirmed in about two weeks.
For some couples, IVF could be one of the best or only options of conceiving a baby as it is able to overcome fertility issues such as the irreparable damage or blockage of fallopian tubes.
There are many private fertility clinics as well as three public hospitals that specialise in fertility – the NUH Clinic for Human Reproduction, SGH Centre for Assisted Reproduction, and the KKIVF Centre, which is credited for Asia’s first baby conceived by IVF in 1983.
Private or Public
One treatment cycle in a private clinic can cost as much as S$16,000, although you can use Medisave to offset your upfront cost. You can withdraw S$6,000 for the first cycle, S$5,000 for the second cycle, and S$4,000 for the third and subsequent cycles up to a lifetime cap of S$15,000.
Due to the high costs of private IVF treatments, many couples would find that public hospitals are a lot more appealing, especially since the government actually co-funds your treatments.
|SC-SC Couple||SC-PR Couple||SC-Foreigner Couple|
|Per Fresh Cycle||75% (S$6300 max)||55% (S$4600 max)||35% (S$3000 max)|
|Per Frozen Cycle||75% (S$1200 max)||55% (S$900 max)||35% (S$600 max)|
According to the Straits Times, an IVF treatment cycle can cost between S$10,000 and S$14,000 in public hospitals. If both you and your partner are Singaporean citizens, this means that you most likely don’t have to pay anything upfront at all for your first cycle (initial assessment costs not included) if you combine the grant with the Medisave withdrawal.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
IUI, also referred to as Artificial Insemination, involves inserting sperm from your partner or a donor into the uterus close to the time of your ovulation and usually doesn’t involve any downtime. This procedure is suitable for women who have normal Fallopian tubes and partners who have enough sperm of good quality.
If you’re still relatively young (below 35) and had never attempted IUI, you may be recommended this procedure as it is less invasive than an IVF and is considered a good first option with a decent success rate.
Not only that, it is a lot more cost-effective. Virtus Fertility Centre, a private centre, quotes S$880 for an IUI procedure.
Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm (ICSI)
The ICSI procedure address male fertility issues, for example low sperm count, poor sperm quality, or poor movement of the sperm. The procedure involves the injection of a single sperm into each egg in the laboratory. It is also often offered in combination with the IVF treatment and could involve an additional charge.
As the name suggests, egg freezing enables the woman to freeze and store their eggs for later use. If you’re thinking of doing that for reasons that are not medical, then you’d be disappointed to learn that Singapore does not allow egg freezing that are due to reasons not related to present medical issues.
For example, cancer patients can freeze their eggs as chemotherapy treatments will have a negative impact on fertility. A cycle of egg-freezing can cost anywhere between S$5,000 and S$15,000, while storing the eggs costs between S$250 and S$500 a year.
As ‘social egg freezing’ is not allowed in Singapore, some have sought for these services abroad. It is an expensive option and there is no guarantee of pregnancy when they are eventually used.
The same can be said of all other methods, though egg freezing can be said to be pretty pricey insurance as you may not even use your eggs in the end.
There are many reasons that could be affecting your fertility, and stress could very well play a part in why a healthy couple may find it hard to conceive. Acupuncture seems to be very much talked about as a natural way to boost fertility as it balances hormonal levels and stress.
A study from Tel Aviv University apparently shows that when acupuncture is combined with Western fertility treatments, conceptions rates increase. If you and your partner are both healthy and not in a rush, the slower process of acupuncture treatments may be an option to consider, or you can do as the study suggests and combine the best of both East and West in your journey towards fertility.
With medical advancement, the chances of conceiving become higher, which leads to more couples planning for children later in life. However, one important thing to note is, infertility costs money.
In other countries, these costs may be even higher, especially without any financial aids from the government.
However, due to the government’s effort to boost birth rate, Singaporeans and even Permanent Residents can now avail to the financial aids and other perks available. The government even goes as far as giving away gift sets worth S$50 each to each Singaporean baby born in 2017!
If you are struggling to expand your family, some of the above options may be viable solutions. However, you and your partner will need to plan your finances carefully as raising a child is a long-term commitment, not just financially.