Seoul’s subsidy programme for egg-freezing gets ‘overwhelming’ response from unmarried women

The number of egg-freezing procedures done on unmarried women has nearly doubled over the last three years, said one South Korean official. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: UNSPLASH via The Straits Times/ANN

SEOUL: A financial assistance programme which helps to defray the costs of egg-freezing launched by the Seoul Metropolitan Government has received significant amount of interest from unmarried women, said the South Korean authorities on Sunday.

Korean news agency Yonhap reported on Sunday that the Seoul Government began offering subsidies of up to 2 million won (S$2,000) to women who want to freeze their eggs via crypto preservation from Sept 1.

This is part of measures introduced by Mayor Oh Se-hoon to address the city’s falling birthrate, which currently stands at 0.59.

A Korean official, who declined to be named, said the number of egg-freezing procedures done on unmarried women has nearly doubled over the last three years.

He added: “The overwhelming response to this assistance programme demonstrates that more women are willing to freeze their eggs, regardless of their marital status.”

A survey done by Korean medical institution CHA Fertility Centre found that 69.8 per cent of unmarried women and 64 per cent of married women expressed intent to freeze their eggs, Yonhap reported.

All women of Korean nationality between the ages of 20 and 49 are eligible to apply for the subsidies, if they have resided in Seoul for more than six months, and are planning to have children now or in the future.

The cost of the egg-freezing procedure ranges between 2.5 million won and 5 million won per session. For single women, the procedure is not covered by the national health insurance policy.

The newly introduced subsidies would help to cover 50 per cent of the costs of conducting preliminary tests of egg crypto preservation and procedural costs. - The Straits Times/ANN

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