In-vitro-Fertilisation by Prof Ng Soon-Chye

In-vitro-Fertilisation by Prof Ng Soon-Chye

Question:

My wife and I have been married for 20 years and we have 2 daughters. 15 years after our youngest daughter was born, my wife expressed her wish to have a son. My wife is in her early 40s and I am 48. What are the chances of us getting a baby and the risk involved at this age?

Answer:

For someone who is above 40, it is definitely more risky to be pregnant at this age. Your wife should check with her gynaecologist whether she is fit to carry another pregnancy.  Chances of pregnancy is likely to be much lower.  Both of you may opt for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) if needed. You might have also heard of an IVF that combines with pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS), which is designed to examine your embryos for chromosomal abnormalities. However, note that this procedure is not allowed in Singapore. Here are some information on IVF and other fertility procedures in Singapore:

I am single and I want to have a baby. Can I undergo IVF treatment?

No. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures, which include IVF treatment, are only available to married couples in Singapore. A valid marriage certificate will need to be presented before the IVF Treatment.

How do I know if my husband and I are qualified for ART treatments such as IVF?

If you are having difficulties getting pregnant, you need to go to a fertility clinic so that both you and your husband can be assessed to determine the cause.

Before trying ART, you should try to conceive normally: this is usually one year of regular, unprotected sex if you’re under 35 years old, and six months if you’re over 35. Women aged 45 and above will not be accepted for ART.

IVF is recommended for women with irreparably damaged or blocked fallopian tubes, or if a woman has conditions such as severe endometriosis. Couples facing sperm disorders or unexplained infertility can also opt for IVF.

Can I use donor sperm to get pregnant?

Donor sperm is a valid option if you are undergoing fertility treatments and your spouse has azoospermia (absence of sperms in the sperm analysis), or if he has genetic conditions transmitted by the male such as haemophilia. In Singapore, there is a National Sperm Bank located at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. However, there is no donor sperm available from the Bank so far as there have been no donations. Patients who need donor sperm will have to source the sperm from overseas sperm banks which are approved by the Ministry of Health. If a child is born using donor sperm, the recipient and her husband are listed as parents of the child. The donors, however, have no claim to any child born under the programme and his identity will remain confidential. Single women are not allowed to use donor sperm under Singapore law.

Can I use a donor egg to get pregnant?

Couples can choose to use donor eggs if the egg quality is not good enough to result in pregnancy or carry one to full term.

Unlike donor sperms, there are very little places where donor eggs can be obtained. Most clinics require you to find your own egg donor,  usually a relative or a friend.

In-vitro fertilisation of eggs donated by the husband’s sister with the husband’s sperm is not allowed. Other restriction includes disallowing the use of sperms donated by the wife’s brothers to fertilise her eggs. Egg donors will also need to undergo psychological assessment and counselling, as well as screening for genetic risk or disease. This will be followed by daily hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs, which are then retrieved after 10 to 14 days on average, through a relatively simple procedure under sedation.

Under Singapore law, egg donors cannot be paid for their contribution. It has to be a completely altruistic transaction. Nonetheless, you are allowed to pay for reasonable expenses incurred during this process. The woman carrying the baby will be identified as the mother of the child and the egg donor has no legal claim to the child.



Professor Ng Soon-Chye

Sincere IVF Centre
8 Sinaran Drive
#06-09/10/11
Novena Specialist Centre
Singapore 307470
Tel: +65 6507 0766
Website: www.sincereivfcenter.com

Professor Ng is an internationally-renowned specialist in the area of Reproductive Medicine and holds a special interest in infertility (including maile infertility), gynaecological laparoscopy and hormonal disturbances.He graduated from the University of Singapore in 1974 with a specialist degree in obstetrics and gynaecology and became a member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) of London in 1981. Professor Ng conducted Singapore's very first in-vitro fertilisation programme in Singapore 1982, leading to Asia's first  IVF baby. He went on to develop the world's first sub-zona insemination (SUZI) baby in 1989 and Asia's first ICSI (an extension of SUZI) baby in 1993.

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