By Ashley Sim
KUCHING, Aug 11: Employees Provident Fund (KWSP) account holders may withdraw funds from Account 2 to cover the cost of fertility treatments, says Minister for Women, Early Childhood, and Community Wellbeing Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
Fatimah told reporters this today during a visit to the Sunway Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) Centre and Sunway Fertility Centre at Canaan Square here.
“Many people avoid trying fertility treatments due to the high cost of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), but there is some good news: you can now fund IVF with EPF withdrawals,” she said.
She noted that couples who are having difficulty conceiving do not have to travel far because the Sunway TCM Centre and the Sunway Fertility Centre have been established in Kuching to treat patients with infertility issues.
Through these two centres, the Sunway Healthcare Group (SHG) aims to provide east-meets-west treatment options for couples attempting to conceive.
Both centres are collaborating to provide the best integrated and medical care for patients, with the goal of increasing the pregnancy success rate through the incorporation of personalised TCM treatments into their healthcare procedures, such as IVF.
According to Fatimah, Sarawak’s birth rate had declined for three straight years since 2019.
“In 2019, total births in Sarawak was 33,304, but it dropped to 31,176 in 2020.
“Based on the total number of births obtained from the National Registration Department for 2021, the number had dropped to 24,081 last year.
“There are several reasons for the drop in birth rate, one of which is the delay in marriage by women due to work and study commitments. Traditionally, the peak age for women to conceive is between 25 and 35-years-old,” Fatimah said.
She noted that beyond the age of 35, the chances of a woman getting pregnant drops to about 80 per cent, and that sickness and disease are also factors.
Fatimah, who is also the Dalat assemblywoman, disclosed that there is a possibility of a fertility financing programme by the Sarawak government in the future, but it requires a detailed study to determine whether it is a critical need in the State.