Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong stated that women of any age can participate in the pilot of the Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) if they have had two or more recurrent implantation failures or pregnancy losses.
This was his response towards questions filed by Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, MP for Nee Soon GRC, who asked the Minister for Health on what are the reasons for setting the criteria disallowing women below the age of 35 to take part in the three-year clinical trial for Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening (PGS). He also asked whether the Ministry will consider lowering this age limit for women, and if the Ministry will consider allowing women below the age of 35 to take part on a case-by-case basis.
In his response to the MP, the Minister said that PGS is a test for chromosomal abnormalities in embryos created through in vitro fertilisation (IVF), before the embryos are implanted into the uterus.
The Minister said that under the pilot programme, patients who fulfil at least one of the following clinical criteria will be eligible:
- Age 35 years old and above, regardless of prognosis.
- Two or more recurrent implantation failures, regardless of age.
- Two or more recurrent pregnancy losses, regardless of age.
He also stressed that for those without recurrent implantation failures or pregnancy losses, the minimum age is set at 35 years. This is because literature evidence and overseas experience have shown that the chance of a baby born with chromosomal abnormalities for mothers aged 35 and above is significantly higher.
Countries such as the UK and Canada have similarly recommended that PGS be made available to women aged 35 years and above, regardless of prognosis.
He noted that the Ministry of Health (MOH) recently approved a three-year pilot for PGS, which will commence at the National University Hospital (NUH) in 2017.
NUH consultant Lim Min Yu, from its department of obstetrics and gynaecology said that there will be three public hospitals which will offer the government-funded trial in the country, NUH, Singapore General Hospital and KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.