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Women above 45 will now be able to undergo IVF in Singapore


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Women who are fast approaching 45 (or already above the age of 45), it’s time to rejoice! As of 1st January 2020, the government will remove the age cap for women eligible for IVF in Singapore, meaning that women aged 45 and older will be able to undergo IVF and other assisted reproduction technology (ART) procedures locally.


Current age limit for IVF will be removed in 2020


As of today, women above 45 are not allowed to undergo assisted reproduction technology (ART) procedures (including IVF) in Singapore. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH), the age cap is intended to protect patients’ interests.


On a related note: while women who are between 40 to 45 are legally allowed to undergo IVF, these women may only be able to go through five fresh cycles of IVF (as opposed to the 10 fresh cycles that women below 40 are allowed). As MOH shares, this is due to the “increased clinical risks” with multiple cycles of ovarian stimulation and oocyte retrieval, including ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS), bleeding, and infection.


Come 1st January 2020, though, there will no longer be an age limit imposed on women who want to undergo IVF. The cap on the number of cycles that a woman can undergo will also be removed.


Why is IVF now allowed for older women?


Here’s the rationale behind the change: with advancements in assisted reproductive technology, it’s now safer for older women to get pregnant through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments and other ART. Doctor Sadhana Nadarajah from KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s Reproductive Medicine department also shares that neonatal care has “improved significantly” in the past few years, leading to “good outcomes, even in high-risk pregnancies.”


Enhanced funding for ART procedures


As part of the new changes, MOH will also be enhancing co-funding for ART procedures. Currently, only women who are below 40 years of age at the start of their ART cycle are eligible for co-funding. These women may apply for co-funding for up to six ART cycles.


Moving forward, women will be able to carry out two of their six co-funded ART cycles after the age of 40. That said, couples will still have to apply for their co-funding and attempt ART or intra-uterine insemination (IUI) procedures before the woman turns 40.


Does this mean that Singaporean women can now wait to conceive?


While these new changes will definitely give older women who wish to conceive more options, gynaecologists across Singapore still recommend that women try sooner instead of later. At the end of the day, women will still find it easier to get pregnant (and possibly go through less complications in their pregnancies) if they do so at a younger age.

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