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Age limit for IVF to be removed, more funding for couples seeking fertility treatments

SINGAPORE — As Singaporeans are getting married later in life, the Government is stepping up funding support for couples who need help conceiving and removing the age limit for those seeking assisted reproductive treatment (ART).

Age limit for IVF to be removed, more funding for couples seeking fertility treatments

The move to remove the age limit for couples seeking assisted reproductive treatment (ART) comes as Singaporeans are getting married later.

SINGAPORE — As Singaporeans are getting married later in life, the Government is stepping up funding support for couples who need help conceiving and removing the age limit for those seeking assisted reproductive treatment (ART).

Currently the Government co-funds up to six ART cycles, and these treatments are only available for women aged 45 and below.

There are various kinds of ART procedures, with the most common one being in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

From January next year:

  • The Ministry of Health (MOH) will lift the age limit for women to undergo ART treatments and remove the cap on the number of ART cycles for all women.

  • Women aged 40 and above will be eligible for Government co-funding for up to two of the six co-funded ART cycles, as long as the couple had attempted assisted reproduction (AR) or Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) procedures before age 40, and are assessed medically fit by their doctor to carry a pregnancy to term.

  • Eligible couples can receive co-funding of up to S$7,700 per fresh cycle and S$2,200 per frozen cycle for three cycles each.

  • Government co-founding will also be rolled out for the less invasive IUI procedure. Those undergoing IUI procedures at public AR centres will be able to receive co-funding of up to 75 per cent, capped at S$1,000 per treatment cycle for three cycles, as long as the woman is below 40 at the start of the cycle. The couple must also have been assessed by a doctor at the centre and one spouse has to be a Singapore citizen.

The moves come as Singaporeans are getting married later. The Department of Statistics said last month that the median age of first-time grooms was 30.2 last year, slightly older than 29.8 in 2008. For first-time brides, the median age was 28.5 last year, compared with 27.3 in 2008.

In a statement, MOH noted that the probability of pregnancy complications increases with maternal age, and the success rate for ART carried out beyond age 40 remains low.

But it added: “At the same time, the safety of ART procedures has improved over the years with medical technology advancements. This has significantly reduced the medical risks for women undergoing ART procedures, even beyond age 45.”

From next year, couples can also look forward to greater financial support earlier in the process of seeking help for fertility issues, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.

“But fertility treatments do not always lead to a successful conception, so I would still encourage couples who wish to raise a family to start trying for a baby earlier,” she added.

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