KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Singaporeans looking to conceive via in vitro fertilisation (IVF) have been coming to Malaysia in search of suitable egg donors, the Sunday edition of the Straits Times reported.
The Singapore paper said its checks showed an increasing number of couples from the island nation who wanted to be parents had gone as far as Australia and the US, but some looked closer to home and were able to find highly-educated women who worked as professionals who were willing to be egg donors.
“These ladies are very well aware of the gift of life they are giving to their recipients and although they do receive some remuneration for their time and effort, they generally are doing this to help others,” Christine Gautaman who runs Heart to ART, a Selangor-based agency matching egg donors or surrogates to couples, told the newspaper.
According to Gautaman, 20 per cent of her clientele are from Singapore while egg donors at her agency are generally between 21 and 32 years old from educated backgrounds and worked as doctors, lawyers and accountants.
The cost of IVF with an egg donor is about RM50,000, including fees for the donor, the treatment to retrieve the donor's eggs and the IVF procedure for the mother-to-be, which is performed in Malaysia.
Gautaman cited several Singaporean couples where the wife was in her 20s but suffered from premature ovarian failure, where the ovaries stop functioning normally before the age of 40, and no longer produced eggs to conceive naturally.
Sunday Times reported said that egg donors are not commonly found in Singapore due to tedious red tape, compounded by the fact that they cannot be paid for their efforts and that the children will be raised in close proximity to their biological mother.
However, the paper reported that women in the republic who are aged 45 and above will be allowed to undergo IVF from January 2020.
It cited KK Women's and Children's Hospital senior consultant of the reproductive medicine department Dr Sadhana Nadarajah who pointed out that women in their late 40s and 50s who are not menopausal need egg donors to conceive because their own are likely to have genetic abnormalities by then.
She also noted that some women in their 20s suffer from premature menopause and will also need donor eggs to conceive, Sunday Times reported.