21 January 2015

New Fertility Centre to Provide for Increased IVF uptake among Singaporean Women

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Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore

Virtus Health, one of the world’s leading fertility services providers, today announced the official opening of Virtus Fertility Centre a dedicated fertility centre with a ‘clean room’ embryology laboratory and automated radio-frequency identification providing optimal safety and patient peace of mind for the increasing number of  Singaporean women undertaking in vitro fertilization (IVF). 

“Our collaboration with local leading fertility specialists to establish the Virtus Fertility Centre in Singapore’s prestigious Scotts Medical Center will offer patients the full suite of fertility procedures, from the very simple to the most advanced, giving patients the best chance of having a baby,” Ms Sue Channon, CEO of Virtus Health said.

“With the number of couples undertaking IVF in Singapore more than doubling from 1,710 in 2005 to more than 4,000 in 2013 and women delaying starting their families we hope our clean room laboratory in Singapore will close the gap between Asian and Caucasian women’s response to fertility treatment,” said Virtus Fertility Centre Medical Director Dr Roland Chieng.

The recent study “Do Asian women do as well as their Caucasian counterparts in IVF treatment”, first published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed the clinical pregnancy rate per cycle for IVF/ISCI for Asian women was only 20.2 per cent. This is about 10 per cent lower than Caucasian women whose rate per cycle was 30.6 per cent.

According to Dr. Andrew Kan, a fertility specialist, advisor to the Virtus Fertility Centre Singapore, and co author of the study, “Asian women tend to choose IVF treatment at a later age, after having tried for a longer period of time to have a baby. This contributes significantly to lower pregnancy rates. Asian women should really seek help earlier as the study shows that age and the duration of infertility are key factors in the outcome of their treatment,” Dr Kan said.

Medical Director Dr Roland Chieng said “We urge women aged 35 or older who have been trying to conceive for 6 months naturally without success to seek medical investigation, assessment and advice. For women under 35 trying naturally for up to 12 months before seeking help is appropriate.”

Situated in Scott's Medical Center, the Virtus Fertility Centre provides consultation and monitoring services, with its own theatres and embryo transfer rooms connected to a “clean room” laboratory ensuring optimal care for developing embryos.

“The embryology lab is ISO-certified as a clean room laboratory. Good, clean air quality is essential for embryos to grow and the clean room will ensure that the environment in the IVF laboratory has the lowest level possible of environmental pollutants,” said Dr Chieng.

The egg, the sperm and the embryos are handled in digitally-controlled environment chambers, called cribs. These chambers eliminate even the slightest variations in the environment that can adversely affect the fertilization and development. Embryos develop in bench-top incubators that provide a precisely controlled environment that mimic a woman’s uterine environment for optimal embryo development.

“Currently a manual double-witness system is practiced in IVF centres in Singapore. To further enhance patient safety and mitigate risks we have installed radio-frequency identification (RFID) electronic witnessing system in the embryology laboratory. The RFID system automatically identifies and tracks tags attached to dishes or tubes containing patient’s eggs, embryos and sperm. The tags contain electronically stored patient information and the movement of patient’s samples throughout the IVF process can be monitored,” Dr Chieng explained.

“We also have automated monitoring and alarm systems for the liquid nitrogen tanks that store embryos and ensure their safety. With our new ‘state of the art’ laboratory and high quality clinical practice we are well placed to support Singaporean couples with advice and treatment to help them achieve their dream of a family,” said Dr Roland Chieng.

Virtus Fertility Centre identified Singapore as a key market in the region where demand for IVF services is expected to rise as more women and couples choose to delay having children until later in life once, they have relationship and financial security.

The Singapore fertility specialists associated with the centre undertake about 350 treatment cycles annually, which is anticipated to rise to 450 in FY16 through market expansion both locally and from within the region.

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