SINGAPORE: Doctors and couples undergoing fertility treatments have welcomed the government’s extra assistance.
Under the enhanced Marriage and Parenthood package announced on Monday, couples will get more financial help.
Thirty—six—year—old Mdm Tan and her husband have been trying to have a baby for three years. They turned to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) last year when natural methods didn’t work.
Their first attempt failed and and it took Mdm Tan a while before deciding to try again.
According to the National University Hospital, each IVF treatment costs about S$10,000 before subsidies.
Mdm Tan said: "We had to take a break for a few months in order to save enough, so we can go for the second IVF."
So Mdm Tan welcomed the news that the government has raised its co—funding — from 50 to 75 per cent with a higher cap of S$6,300 per treatment cycle.
She said: "Now with the co—funding, we don’t feel like we need to wait for a few more months. We would have saved another S$2,000, another two or S$3,000."
Mdm Tan will find out if their second shot is successful in a few weeks.
Couples also benefit from the extension of funding for treatment involving frozen embryos. They will now be co—funded with a cap of S$1,200 per treatment cycle — this means more chances and less hassle.
National University Hospital Women’s Centre’s head and senior consultant, professor P C Wong, said: "A woman by undergoing one fresh IVF may have opportunities for spare embryos to be frozen and that can be used at another time without her having to go through the whole series of daily injections, egg extractions and things like that. So really it’s like a bonus. The only thing is that not everyone who does a fresh IVF will have frozen embryos, because remember I said these are spare embryos. Frozen embryo transfers is just as good or maybe one or two per cent less than fresh embryos."
Doctors said they have noticed an increase in the number of women seeking IVF treatment over the years, especially since the co—funding scheme started in 2008. Though they have noted that many of these women are also getting older."
Most women receiving treatment are now 35 to 40 years old, up from 30 to 35 years old about five years ago.
Professor Wong said: "Even though medicine, even though IVF programme we can treat fertility. At the end, the most important determinant of success is the age of the woman. The earlier they come, the more successful they will be."
The scheme has also been extended to those with more than one child.
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