KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 – The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) said it will be adding an option for withdrawals for subfertility treatments under Account 2.
“Malaysia’s ageing population, caused by a continuous trend of falling fertility rates, is expected to bring about healthcare and employment challenges,” EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias said in a statement.
“One of the ways to address this matter includes encouraging couples to have more children through medical assistance – yet costs of such treatments are extremely high, with in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments ranging between RM4,000 to RM30,000 per cycle,” he added.
Subfertility means that it’s possible to conceive naturally, except that it takes longer than usual, compared to infertility, which is the inability to conceive naturally after a year of trying.
Tunku Alizakri said the retirement fund for private sector workers hoped to work closely with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and the Ministry of Health on this issue.
“We recognise that children have direct and indirect benefits for families. Therefore, the EPF is fully supportive, and will actively explore ways to balance the need between financial security and social well-being.”
The EPF’s new category of withdrawals to cover fertility treatments like IVF procedures was one of the initiatives under Budget 2020.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng also announced during the tabling of the federal government budget that the income tax relief of up to RM6,000 given on expenses incurred for medical treatment of serious illnesses will be expanded to include expenses incurred on fertility treatment.
He had said the fertility rate in Malaysia has fallen from 4.9 children per woman in the 1970s to 1.9 children per woman currently, which is below replacement level.