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13 Aug 2019

5th Aug 2019

Miss Cheng Li Hui

MP for Tampines GRC

 

Question No. 3009

To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether the Ministry is aware of the number of couples seeking assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) treatment overseas and their reasons for doing so; (b) whether co-funding for ARTs treatment can be extended beyond public hospitals to private hospitals and clinics; (c) what are the reasons for the decreasing ART co-funding with each attempt; and (d) what is the process for women of age 45 and above appealing for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and the average time taken for an approval.

 

Written Answer


1        There are three public healthcare assisted reproduction (AR) centres – National University Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Today, Singaporean couples who undergo assistive reproductive technologies (ART) treatments at these centres can receive co-funding of up to $7,700 per fresh cycle and $2,200 per frozen cycle, for 3 fresh cycles and 3 frozen cycles.  A frozen cycle costs less than a fresh cycle because a fresh cycle requires the whole ART process like egg stimulation, egg retrieval and fertilisation.  While the co-funding for each fresh cycle and frozen cycle differs, the amount of co-funding does not decrease with each successive ART attempt.

2        We have sufficient capacity at the public healthcare AR centres for co-funded ART treatments.  Couples can commence their ART treatments when they have completed their necessary applications, counselling and tests and assessed to be medically ready.

3        Patients who prefer to seek treatment at private hospitals can use MediSave to help offset the costs, up to the prevailing withdrawal limits.  The Ministry does not have information on the number of couples seeking ART treatment overseas.

4        The current age limit for ART treatment in Singapore, including in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), is set at 45.  Women aged 45 years and above who wish to undergo ART treatment may appeal to the Ministry of Health, through their ART practitioner.  In assessing the appeal, MOH may seek advice from its panel of experts where necessary.  The average time for processing an appeal is currently about a week.

5        As advancements in ART have improved the safety of ART procedures, the Ministry is reviewing the maximum age limit for women to undergo ART treatment in Singapore.