Singapore egg-freezing ban forces women to head overseas
Now calls are growing for authorities to loosen the rules in a bid to help boost one of the world's lowest birth rates.
"It doesn't give women in Singapore the chance to have an opportunity to give birth in their 40s, and therefore they feel like they would have to settle in their 30s because time is not on their side," the 40-year-old added.
Singapore's fertility rate reached a historic low of 1.1 babies per woman last year, compared to a global average of 2.4.
This is despite decades of official encouragement to boost births, ranging from cash bonuses for having a baby to subsidised fertility treatments for married couples.
Many other countries permit the procedure, even without medical reasons.
Lifestyles are different
The procedure involves collecting eggs from a woman's ovaries, freezing them unfertilised and storing them for later use.
When a woman wants to try to get pregnant, the egg is thawed and combined with sperm before being transferred to the uterus.
Erica, who is not originally from Singapore but holds permanent resident status, decided to have the procedure at the age of 36 after breaking up with her boyfriend of six years.
She flew to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia about five times for consultations, to refill hormone jabs, then finally for the egg extraction at the KL Fertility Centre.
"There is actually a huge demand because of changing social dynamics," said Helena Lim, a doctor at the centre.
"Women have more opportunity to get higher education, lifestyles are different."
Sunfert International, which has several fertility clinics across Malaysia, told AFP that enquiries and patients from Singapore were increasing by about 15 percent each year before the pandemic.
Singaporeans are also heading to countries like Thailand and Australia for the procedure.
Profoundly selfish act
The Ministry of Social and Family Development said last year there were "ethical and social concerns" over such a move, which could cause more women "to delay marriage or parenthood".
The ministry declined requests for further comment.
The National Council of Churches of Singapore has also spoken out against elective egg freezing, calling it a "profoundly selfish act" and saying that women should instead be encouraged to have children earlier in life.
Erica is now in a relationship and hopes to have children soon -- the couple will try to conceive naturally first and have the frozen eggs as a backup.