Blyth, Eric, Lee, Geok Ling and Yee, Samantha (2013) Freezing the Biological Clock: A Viable Fertility Preservation Option for Young Singaporean Women? Annals, Academy of Medicine Singapore, 42 (9). pp. 472-477. ISSN 0304-4602

In March 2012, an article in The Straits Times entitled ‘Freezing eggs could reverse falling birth rate’ suggested that employing the latest oocyte cryopreservation techniques could both foster individual women’s reproductive autonomy and impact Singapore’s fertility rate, which in recent years has consistently been among the world’s lowest. The article cited both local and international fertility specialists’ approval of elective oocyte cryopreservation for young women wishing to protect their reproductive potential against ageing and as a potential antidote to the contemporary ‘delay and defer’ model of family-building. Later in 2012, the Ministry of Health announced a review of oocyte cryopreservation policy taking into account related medical, scientific and ethical issues, while the Singapore College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists endorsed oocyte cryopreservation as an “important, safe and efficient technology”. This paper outlines and analyses the arguments and empirical evidence used both to support and oppose offering elective oocyte cryopreservation as a routine fertility service, before concluding that this remains unjustifiable on the basis of insufficient evidence of its clinical efficacy and safety as regards either pregnancy rates or birth outcomes. If it is to be made available at all for these reasons in Singapore, it should be subjected to rigorous clinic-specific evaluation in accordance with accepted clinical and ethical norms.

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