Thinking of seeking help from advanced science techniques to reach your dream of having your own baby? This article is here for you to get the first idea of all the important things one needs to know before deciding which way to go.
WHO SHOULD CONSIDER FERTILITY TREATMENT?
It is recommended to seek help from a fertility doctor if you have been trying for 12 months (or 6 months if you are over 35 years old). In Singapore, IVF treatment is only available for married couples.
WHAT ARE DIFFERENT METHODS TO HELP WITH INFERTILITY ISSUES?
There are various methods available to treat infertility. Each form of those assisted reproductive treatments can be done in combination with others to achieve the best possible outcome. The most common methods are:
- Induction of Ovulation: Promoting egg growth by the use of oral or injection medication
- Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI): The introduction of processed sperm into the womb through a fine catheter during ovulation
- In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF): Implanting embryo into the womb after the natural fertilisation of eggs and sperms in a petri dish (often used for female infertility cause)
- Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection: Implanting embryo into the womb after the process of injecting a single sperm into each egg (often used for male infertility cause)
- Blastocyst Culture: Implanting a blastocyst into the womb. A blastocyst is an embryo that is cultured for 5 days.
- Assisted Hatching: Helping the embryo to hatch from its “shell” to increase the chance of implantation
- Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis: Embryo testing to determine if it carries a genetic abnormality passed down by parents
Among the above, In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is often mentioned because it is a common solution used to increase the pregnancy chance in older maternal age women and in unexplained infertility cases.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS DURING IVF?
- Pituitary suppression: Your natural cycle is suppressed with the use of medication (GnRH agonist/antagonist).
- Ovarian stimulation: A fertility hormone (FSH) is injected daily for between 9 to 14 days to encourage the ovaries to produce more eggs than usual.
- Egg monitoring: The egg development is monitored via ultrasound to make sure the number and size of the eggs are adequate before aiding their maturation by the final injection.
- Egg retrieval and semen collection: Eggs are retrieved by inserting a needle through the vaginal canal. Semen sample needs to be collected on the day of egg retrieval procedure.
- Fertilisation: The eggs and the sperm are mixed together in an incubator for a few days to allow them to be fertilised.
- Embryo transfer: Embryo transfer occurs two to five days after egg retrieval.
- Pregnancy test: Your pregnancy blood test is due about 14 days after the embryo transfer.
WHAT ARE THE IVF SUCCESS RATES IN SINGAPORE?
In Singapore, IVF success rates are often measured as clinical pregnancies per embryo transfer. Clinical pregnancies are those confirmed by a blood test and ultrasound scan, usually at around 6-8 weeks after introducing the embryo to the womb.
The overall success rates announced by hospitals and fertility clinics range from 47-69%. Women of younger ages (under 30) are those who benefit most from IVF among the 4 age groups (<30, 31-34, 35-39, 40-45). The rates can go up to 88% in that age group (at Virtus Fertility Centre in the year 2017).
HOW ARE THE IVF TREATMENT FEES CALCULATED?
IVF treatment fees often break down into three main types of cost:
- Pre-treatment costs: Including the consultation fee for your first appointment with your specialist and the charges for initial tests.
- IVF cycle costs: They are the charges for medications, egg retrieval, embryo transfer, laboratory charges, hospital accommodation, anaesthetic service, use of operating theatre, nursing fees, and others.
- Advanced science costs: Advanced scientific techniques such as PGD may be required, depending on your individual needs.
HOW MUCH ARE THE PRE-TREATMENT COSTS?
- Consultation fee: S$150 – S$300
- Fertility tests: S$240 – S$440
HOW MUCH ARE THE IVF CYCLES COSTS?
- Fertility medication: S$2,500 – S$3,500
- Egg monitoring: From S$1000
- Egg retrieval: S$3,550 – S$10,000
- Sperm collection: From S$1,250
- Embryo transfer: S$1,500 – S$5,500
HOW MUCH ARE THE ADVANCED SCIENCE COSTS?
- Laser-assisted hatching: S$150 to S$600
- Blastocyst culture: S$150 to S$300
- PGD: Can be up to over S$10,000
So, in summary, costs of IVF treatment at public hospitals range between S$10,000 and S$15,000 per cycle while it starts from S$7,999 and can go up to S$20,000 per cycle at private hospitals.
GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY FOR IVF: MOH CO-FUNDING
As long as there is one person in the couple is a Singapore citizen, you can get MOH co-funding when seeking IVF treatment at public hospitals which are:
- KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
- National University Hospital
- Singapore General Hospital
|Couple’s citizenship||MOH co-funding (fresh cycles)||MOH co-funding (frozen cycle)|
|SG citizen + SG citizen||75% (up to $7,700)||75% (up to $2,200)|
|SG citizen + PR||55% (up to $5,700)||55% (up to $1,600)|
|SG citizen + Foreigner||35% (up to $3,600)||35% (up to $1,000)|
GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY FOR IVF: THE USE OF MEDISAVE
This applies to Singaporean and PR couples, which allows you to use your Medisave to pay for IVF treatment. The maximum amount one can withdraw in a lifetime for this kind of treatment is $15,000.
|IVF cycle||Medisave limit|
|3rd & subsequent||$4,000|
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN IVF CLINIC?
- Success rate: IVF success rate is a must-ask while looking around to find the right fertility clinic. It is important because the proven success rates ensure the chance of achieving your dream of having a baby. The higher the clinical pregnancy rates, the higher your chance of getting pregnant.
- Specialist: There are clinics where the specialist is the one who manages the patient’s treatment every step of the way. There are also clinics where only the important tasks are taken care of by the specialist, the rest is left in the hands of the team’s healthcare professionals. So, make sure you know who will manage your treatment to ensure that you are provided with continuity of care and the best possible chance to solve your issue.
- Location: To many couples, IVF treatment is a hard and long journey to take. It requires couples to travel back and forth between home and the clinic often. So, make sure the fertility clinic you go with is located in a convenient location to save you time and hassle.
PROS AND CONS WHEN GETTING IVF TREATMENT AT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE HOSPITALS
|Public hospitals||Lower cost (co-funding)||Longer waiting time for an appointment to see a specialist|
|Private hospitals||Shorter waiting time for an appointment to see a specialist
Customer service is of better quality
|Higher cost (No co-funding)|
Couples who decide to go to a private hospital for IVF treatment should consider prenatal insurance that covers IVF to keep the cost manageable. Check it out with insurers like AIA, AXA, and Pacific Prime Singapore for those kinds of insurance.
WHAT ARE THE IVF CLINICS IN SINGAPORE?
There are IVF clinics in both the public and private sectors.
Singaporeans who want to enjoy the government subsidy can pick one among the three public institutes:
- KKIVF Centre by KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital
- Centre for Assisted Reproduction (CARE) by Singapore General Hospital
- The Clinic for Human Reproduction (CHR) by National University Singapore
The number of private fertility clinics is much larger than the public. Those who opt for private service have more choices when it comes to choosing a preferred specialist and clinic location.
Here is the list of private clinics in Singapore:
- Thomson Fertility Centre (Paragon Medical Centre)
- Health & Fertility Centre for Women by Dr Kelly Loi (Located at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre)
- Noel Leong Fertility & IVF Clinic Pte. Ltd. by Dr Noel Leong (Located at Mt Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre and Raffles Fertility Centre)
- Raffles Fertility Centre by Raffles Hospital
- Women & Fertility Clinic by DR Hendricks Marianne Sybille (Located at Mt Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre)
- Astra Centre for Women & Fertility by Dr Fong Yang (Located at Mt Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre)
- Women Fertility & Fetal Centre by Dr Ann Tan (Located at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre)
- Sincere IVF Center by Prof Soon-Chye Ng (Located at Mt Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre)
- Roland Chieng Fertility and Women Care by Dr Roland Chieng (Located at Scotts Medical Center, Parkway East Medical Centre)
- Motoko Clinic For Women Pte Ltd by Dr Motoko Yeo (Located at Paragon Medical Centre)
- The O&G Specialist Clinic by Dr Loh Seong Feei and Dr Janice Tung (Located at Thomson Fertility Centre)
- Alpha IVF Centre & Alpha Women’s Specialists by Dr Tan Heng Hao and Dr Timothy Lim Yong Kuei (Located at Royal Square at Novena)
- Charles M P Lim Clinic & Surgery For Women by Dr Charles M P Lim (Located at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre)
- Michele Lee Women & Fertility Clinic by Dr Michele Lee (Located at Mount Alvernia Hospital)
- GynaeMD Women’s & Rejuvenation Clinic by Dr Christopher Ng (Located at Camden Medical Centre)
- Gynae Consultancy Pte Ltd by Dr Yap Lip Kee (Located at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre and Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre)