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Seoul to help more women to freeze eggs

City government proposes to provide W2m to 650 women wishing to freeze eggs

By Lee Jung-joo

Published : Feb. 14, 2024 - 16:22

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The Seoul Metropolitan Government will double the number of subsidies it provides women to cryopreserve their eggs, said the city government on Wednesday, as part of the city government’s measure to tackle falling birth rates in the capital city.

In September 2023, the city government proposed to provide up to 2 million won ($1,496) to 300 women between the ages of 20 and 49 who have resided in Seoul for more than six months. Starting in 2024, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide the same amount of subsidy to 650 women.

From September to December, 219 women benefitted from the city government’s subsidy. Among the 219 women, 152 were in their 30s, 49 were in their 40s and 18 were in their 20s.

The reason why less than 10 percent of women in their 20s were eligible to receive the city government’s subsidy was because only women with Anti-Mullerian Hormone levels less than 1.5 nanograms per 1 milliliter in that age group were eligible to apply. Women in their 30s and 40s were able to regardless of their AMH levels.

“Last year, those in their 20s who registered to receive the subsidy had relatively high AMH levels, accounting for only 8.2 percent among the total number of 219 recipients,” said a Seoul Metropolitan Government official. “Particularly, some individuals undergoing chemotherapy or with conditions affecting ovarian function couldn't receive support due to their AMH levels surpassing the specified standard. Because of such unforeseen circumstances and high egg cryopreservation costs, the city government decided to ease the subsidy restrictions for those in their 20s.”

From 2024, the Seoul Metropolitan Government stated that women in their 20s with AMH levels less than 3.5 ng per 1 ml will receive subsidies to freeze their eggs. Even if someone has undergone egg cryopreservation after September 2023, they will be eligible for retroactive support once the city government determines that they meet the specified standards.

While the Seoul Metropolitan Government had previously stated in September 2023 that women of foreign nationality may apply for the support program if their husbands are Korean nationals, the city government official stated that this support program is no longer available for women of foreign nationality.

Those who are interested in the service may apply online through www.umppa.seoul.go.kr.