6th Jan 2021
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye, MP for Radin Mas
Question No. 326
To ask the Minister for Health (a) among couples who have successfully undergone in-vitro fertilisation and have unutilised frozen embryos, what is the percentage of those who donate their frozen embryos to other couples instead of discarding them; (b) whether there is a distinct difference in donation rates among various ethnicities; and (c) how can embryo donation be better encouraged to assist young couples who are unable to conceive using their own eggs, sperm or embryos.
Embryo donation is a deeply personal decision influenced by many factors. The personal values and beliefs unique to the couple should be taken into careful consideration when the couple makes known their desire to donate their embryos.
There have only been three couples who donated their embryos to other couples in the last five years. The low number does not allow a meaningful comparison of donation rates among various ethnicities. There is also limited demand for donated embryos as both the husband and wife must have defective gametes for embryo adoption to be considered, due to the requirement for Assisted Reproduction (AR) Centres to ensure a genetic link to one of the intended parents of the child is maintained wherever possible.
Nonetheless, AR centres are required to provide counselling for couples before the start of any treatment, and to discuss, amongst other issues, the couple’s wishes regarding the embryos that remain after their treatment is completed. When counselling and caring for the couple, doctors must respect their autonomy, in keeping with professional and ethical standards. Couples who wish to donate their remaining frozen embryos to other couples can do so, and the AR centres will facilitate the donation at the appropriate time.