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Improving Reproductive Health

Editor’s Letter

Getting pregnant is harder than it looks, with 40 to 60 per cent of fertilised eggs failing to contribute to live birth. Couple this with cultural, societal, and economic changes, more and more women are delaying pregnancy and choosing to focus on their careers.

In Singapore, the median age of new mothers was 31 in 2020, an increase from 30.5 in 2015. For older women above the age of 35, it would not only take a longer time to conceive, but the chances of success are lower. As couples choose to delay parenthood, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures have allowed more successful pregnancies in later stages of life. However, IVF procedures are not all perfect, with only about 40 per cent of selected “high-quality” embryos leading to successful implantation and initiation of pregnancy.

In this issue, we learn more about how we can improve and support women’s reproductive health. Firstly, we have Dr Samuel Prien and Dr Linsay Penrose from Texas Tech University Health Sciences on how we may select the best embryos that will provide the best chances for pregnancy (p.22). Then, we hear from Dr Alok Javali and Dr Nicolas Rivron from IMBA-Institute of Molecular Biology in Vienna, Austria on how blastoids can be used as a drug discovery tool to improve IVF procedures (p.26). Looking to the future, we have an article contribution by Michelle Tan Min Shuen on reproductive genetic technology (p.30).

In Columns, Sumir Bhatia, President, Asia Pacific, Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group talks about the future of genome sequencing (p.14) and Justin Loh, Country Director for Singapore, Veritas Technologies tells us how we may protect patient data from data breaches (p.18).

For Spotlights this issue, we recap the highlights from the Future of Healthcare Week, discussing the path forward in a post-COVID world (p.36).

Finally, some research highlights this month include blood biomarkers to predict the risk of future infertility (p.60), light-controlled macromolecules that can induce cell apoptosis (p.7), and how blinding macrophages may treat atherosclerosis (p.71).

Carmen Chan