What you need to know about IVF in Singapore
You are not alone; the number of couples facing problems while trying to conceive in Singapore is continuously on the rise. According to data from the Ministry of Health (MOH), 6,044 assisted reproduction cycles were carried out in Singapore in 2015. More than half of these couples opted for In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The rise in the popularity of IVF may be because it has become more affordable!
How IVF Works
If you are undergoing IVF treatment for the first time, the procedure is carried out in four steps.
- Ovarian Hyperstimulation
- Egg retrieval
- Fertilisation: More than one egg is fertilised at this stage to increase the chances of obtaining healthy embryos.
- Embryo transfer: More than one embryo is transferred to the uterus to improve the chances of pregnancy. Any healthy embryos, which are leftover after the transfer, are frozen for subsequent use.
The initial cycle of IVF is also called the fresh cycle as fresh embryos are used in the process. In case, you do not conceive in your initial cycle or opt for the second round of IVF for another child, the doctors will use the frozen embryos from your first cycle. In a frozen cycle, the first three stages are obviously obliterated as you already have a healthy embryo from the initial cycle. A frozen cycle is therefore cheaper.
Each fresh cycle of IVF can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $14,000 at a public hospital, while treatment at a private IVF clinic can cost between $16,000 and $20,000. Many couples go through multiple cycles to conceive, pushing costs further.
As a natural consequence, several couples have been unable to try IVF treatment. With a view to encourage and support couples trying to conceive in Singapore, MOH has been providing them with government co-funding for Assisted Reproduction since 2008. MOH raised the amount of subsidy available under this plan in 2013.
However, this facility is available only at Government hospitals.
Eligibility for Government Co-funding
- Co-funding is available only if either you or your spouse is a citizen of Singapore. In other words, this option not available to expats.
- You are eligible for co-funding even if you have children and are undergoing IVF for another child.
- You should not be more than 40 years of age at the start of the first cycle of IVF.
- Your fertility specialist has suggested an IVF treatment after initial investigations.
Couples need to fill a declaration form at a fertility clinic. The hospital administration checks their eligibility and makes the necessary adjustments in the bill after confirmation.
Subsidies for IVF
Co-funding is available for a maximum of three fresh and three frozen IVF cycles. The amount of subsidy available depends on the legal status of the couple in Singapore.
Co-funding of IVF in public Hospitals in Singapore (with effect from April 2018)
Co-funding covers all stages of the IVF cycle. However, it does not cover the initial investigations and consultations with fertility specialists.
Using Medisave to Pay for IVF
You can use Medisave along with co-funding to cover the additional costs incurred during the IVF treatment. You can now claim your Medisave more than three times for your IVF treatment. However, the total withdrawals for all cycles should not exceed more than $15,000.
- The upper limit of Medisave withdrawal for the first IVF cycle is $6000. While you can claim a maximum of $5,000 for the second IVF cycle, and $4,000 for the third and any subsequent cycles.
- You can claim Medisave even if you are not opting for co-funding.
- Medisave can be claimed at both public and private hospitals.
Private Insurance for IVF
While co-funding and Medisave have cut down the costs of IVF significantly for Singaporean citizens, cost still remains an issue for expats. Further, co-funding is available only at Government hospitals, so if you choose the comforts of a private hospital for your IVF treatment, you may lose out on co-funding.
Recent statistics show that while Singapore boasts of nine IVF clinics, around 62 percent of the couples who underwent IVF went to public hospitals. The only other way to cover the costs of IVF treatment in Singapore is by the way of private Insurance.
Pacific Prime Singapore provides insurance plans that provide benefits on claims made for up to three rounds of in-vitro fertilisation. You can also consider other options including BUPA, Allianz and Cigna.
The cost of IVF should no longer deter you from trying IVF as a treatment option. According to IVF specialists in Singapore, if you combine co-funding with the maximum withdrawal limit of Medisave, you will not have to spend more than $3000 from your own pocket on the complete IVF cycle. In addition, private insurance can take care of the expenses not covered by the government schemes. Start exploring your options and start your search for IVF specialists here.
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