Legalise Social Egg Freezing In Singapore
Legalise Social Egg Freezing In Singapore
Why this petition matters
Dear Honourable Masagos Zulkifli,
We appeal to you as hopeful would-be mothers and as women who should have the right to make decisions for themselves pertaining to their own bodies.
We refer to the recent article that has made headlines across various news outlets internationally regarding the ban on social egg freezing in Singapore. It is evident from the article and research we’ve conducted through reaching out to the community that many local women have undergone or are planning to undergo this procedure overseas.
As such, we appeal to you to raise this matter in parliament so that real steps can be taken to lifting the ban and allowing Singaporean women to freeze their eggs in the safety and comfort of their home country, surrounded by their community.
In 06 Oct 2020, a question regarding social egg freezing was presented to Parliament requesting for an update, receiving the following response:
However, we also have to take into account the ethical and social concerns over legalising social egg freezing, including inadvertently causing more to delay marriage or parenthood based on a misperception that they can have a child whenever they wish to. The risks of developing complications during pregnancy also increase with age, even if the child is conceived through a frozen egg.
This is a statement that has been republished multiple times in the media and is presumably the government’s main stance, which we’d like to politely refute:
First off, we believe that if circumstances permit most, if not every, woman would prefer to fulfil her parenthood goals earlier rather than later. We agree that the later one waits to conceive, one undertakes more risks and potential complications during pregnancy. However, it is an irrefutable fact that a woman’s fertility drastically decreases every year she gets older – in her mid-20s, she is left with around only 20% of her eggs. This is an age where most women would have just graduated university or are at the very beginning of their careers, and are not focused on starting a family. Her fertility declines even further in her 30s: a 30-year-old woman has only a 20% chance of getting pregnant per cycle and at 40, that figures plummets to just 5%. By the laws of nature, we women are pitted against a cruel biological clock that ticks louder every year that we are not dating, married or pregnant.
The thing is, Sir, one cannot rush connection or love, and by extension, starting a family. Nor can we insure ourselves against conditions like PCOS. Nor should we have to choose between career and family. Yes, it is not impossible to fall pregnant naturally at a later age, but it is statistically proven that the remaining eggs in older woman are more likely to have abnormal chromosomes which makes getting pregnant even harder. These are all legitimate reasons that many women who have reached out to us have cited for wanting to freeze their eggs - it is a form of insurance against that ticking clock we unfortunately cannot shut off.
We cannot change the laws of nature, but surely we can change state laws?
Secondly, we believe that most women are well-informed pertaining to the likelihood of getting pregnant via egg freezing/IVF, and therefore do not have any such misconceptions on its success rates. Also, should the ban be lifted, surely clinics and hospitals will mandate counselling for women wanting to freeze their eggs and ensuring that they are properly informed before starting the process?
Lastly, on the topic of delaying marriage – women are already delaying marriage without egg freezing being legal. The argument that legalising egg freezing will cause women to delay marriage is unfair as it posits that the only goal of marriage is childbirth. This is not the case for every woman. There are many single women who'd want to raise a child on her own – whenever she decides she is ready to be a parent, married or not. We understand that Singapore still holds on to its conservative values but as a progressive, first world nation, we must acknowledge and accept that the traditional familial structure here is changing, and adapt accordingly.
We strongly believe that as long as women are armed with the right information and are of sound mind, they should be allowed to take the risks they deem worth taking. Allowing us to freeze our eggs is allowing us a chance at motherhood later in life when we are emotionally and financially ready. Grant us our right to make decisions for our bodies; because OUR bodies, OUR choice.
We understand that this is a much, much longer conversation, and it won’t be as easy as gathering a few online signatures. But we hope you listen, we hope you take action, and we hope that we’ll soon see a big step taken toward protecting women’s rights here in Singapore.
MP Cheng Li Hui: “I’m advocating for the topic and will always continue to advocate it,"
- Mr Masagos ZulkifliMinister of Social and Family Development