Family planning has evolved beyond traditional boundaries, allowing individuals greater autonomy over their reproductive choices. One of the remarkable advancements in this realm is elective sperm freezing, a procedure that offers a lifeline to individuals seeking to preserve their fertility for future family planning endeavours.
In light of the Singapore Ministry of Health’s recent regulation to raise the age limit from 35 to 37 years old for elective egg freezing, it comes as a surprise that elective sperm freezing, on the other hand, has been prohibited for all except for individuals who face certain medical conditions that affect fertility. The Ministry of Health defended its decision by stating that there is currently insufficient and compelling evidence to show that men’s fertility reduces with age. In addition, people have speculated that this decision may have been a government intervention to protect consumers’ rights.
However, this means that Singapore is the outlier when compared to other developed countries, such as Japan and Taiwan, which allow elective sperm freezing. Banning this procedure will no doubt bring implications for reproductive rights and choices in Singapore and a wide range of challenges, which we’ll discuss in this article.
1. Limited control over reproductive choices
First and foremost, banning elective sperm freezing will limit individuals’ autonomy over their reproductive choices. Since there are fewer options for men to preserve their fertility, they might not have the opportunity to plan for their future families in the way they desire. People can no longer effectively “pause” their biological clock of their own accord, being deprived of the empowerment to pursue their education, career goals, or personal aspirations and feeling more pressured into parenthood.
As such, without elective sperm freezing as an available fertility treatment in Singapore, people will face more difficulties in fostering a more balanced approach to family planning, especially in today’s evolving society.
2. Negative impact on fertility preservation
Some individuals may have to undergo medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or surgery, which can impact fertility. In such scenarios, these individuals may want to freeze their sperm in order to safeguard their chances of having biological children in the future and mitigate the potential effects of these treatments on them. People with health complications can also opt for elective sperm freezing as a form of safety net.
A ban will deprive individuals of this option and force them to make difficult decisions about their medical treatments without the ability to protect their fertility.
3. Emotional and psychological impact
Infertility or concerns about fertility can cause emotional distress and anxiety to couples. Elective sperm freezing, which has been found to be the most successful treatment for men to preserve their fertility, can provide peace of mind to individuals looking to guarantee their chances of having children in the future. By banning this procedure, individuals may be subjected to increased emotional and psychological strain, especially those with health concerns, as mentioned above.
4. Delayed family planning
In Singapore, there is a traditional belief in Chinese culture based on Taoist philosophy that “Qi” (life force) and “Yang” (male energy) are more prominent in younger males. This translates to having healthier and better-quality offspring. Therefore, many young men would prefer to freeze their sperm when young to ensure the best of their future children.
In addition, Singapore is on the path of becoming an ageing country. According to the latest statistics by the Prime Minister’s Office, the fertility rate is 1.05 in 2022, a historic low that indicates that couples are likely to only have one child. Combined with traditional beliefs and the fact that more and more couples are having fewer children, elective sperm freezing can provide a safe and effective choice for family planning.
The ban on elective sperm freezing significantly affects family planning in numerous ways. This contentious policy places constraints on individuals and couples seeking to safely exercise their reproductive autonomy and plan for their future families. By restricting access to sperm freezing, it limits the options available to those who wish to preserve their fertility for various legitimate purposes, such as career advancement, medical treatments, or personal circumstances.
As one of the leading fertility specialists in Singapore, The O&G Specialist Clinic holds the belief that reproductive choices are a fundamental right. This is why our doctors, Dr Loh and Dr Tung, are committed to offering high-quality fertility and infertility treatments in Singapore. While elective sperm freezing has been prohibited for most individuals, elective egg freezing is an available choice for women between the ages of 21 and 37. These processes may be complicated, so it is best to consult our doctors to understand more.
Contact us here for more information.