Elective Egg Freezing (Part 2): A Policy Ovary-action?

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Photo Credit: CNA; Rafa Estrada

In Part 1 of our piece on Elective Egg Freezing (EEF), we explored a few themes and questions around the proposed changes. By expanding the process’ reach beyond cases of medical necessity, do we inadvertently create new problems, like artificially enabling a widened age gap between children and their parents? What would the psycho-social and economic consequences of these new arrangements look like? In seeking to help women widen their fertility window, do we enable adults to prioritise their self-fulfilment desires over children’s interest in parents who can keep up? In our ideological drive toward more choice, autonomy, and empowerment, has the triumph of the modern self supplanted the natural order of family structuring?

In Part 2 of our look at Elective Egg Freezing, we now turn to other concerns.

Could the upcoming policy shift be, at best, therapeutic and, at worst, subversive of national efforts to build resilient young families? Do they have the potential to exacerbate the problems we are currently wrestling with as a nation? What does the ‘root system’ of this social challenge look like, and how can we address the problem of Singapore’s fertility crisis more meaningfully?

The danger of echo chambers and one-sided narratives

Egg freezing gained sudden momentum on social media in the latter half of 2021. Prior to that, it also made it to the agenda of the PAP Women’s Wing’s position paper on women’s issues, which called for a review of the ban. This, in addition to many other suggestions, such as helping women enter growth sectors like STEM-related fields, increasing support for women in caregiving roles, and creating a support network for single mothers.

This issue had also hit the headlines during the pandemic as the media told stories of how border closures were separating women from their eggs after they had gone overseas for the procedure. Readers naturally sympathised. It then gained momentum on social media and had influential women getting behind it. News outlets went straight to telling stories of the emotional struggles of those seeking to freeze their eggs in a country without such services.

The narrative and optics around Egg Freezing were linked to the ideas of choice. ‘My eggs, my choice’ for instance spoke to women’s empowerment and self-determination. The very shift in nomenclature from Social Egg Freezing to Elective Egg Freezing reflected this empowerment ethos as well. In a pro-woman cultural climate, this was a triumph.

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