A bill calling for the Government to review the rules governing how long eggs frozen for non-medical reasons can be kept has been introduced to the House of Commons
Under current law, women who decide to freeze their eggs in the UK can store them for up to ten years and then they must either be used in fertility treatment, disposed of, or used to create embryos with a sperm donor or from a partner.
Dr Kylie Baldwin, who researches into women’s experiences of egg freezing and IVF at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has added her voice to calls for the regulations to be overhauled.
She said: “Women who freeze their eggs often do so to allow themselves more time to prepare for motherhood, to find the right partner and become ready for the demands of parenting. Egg freezing technology offers these women hope of genetic motherhood in the future, but currently users of this technology must use their eggs within ten years or face them potentially being destroyed.
“The process of freezing eggs can be financially expensive, as well as physically and emotionally gruelling and, as a result, the destruction of their gametes before women are ready to use them can be devastating. Given the increasing numbers of women turning to this technology to extend their reproductive lifespans, an urgent review of statutory storage periods is now needed and full consideration should be given to the proposed amendments to current regulations.”
The Storage Period for Gametes Bill was introduced as a Private Members’ Bill by Baroness Ruth Deech QC, a former chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
It urges the Secretary of State Matt Hancock to review the regulations
Baroness Deech said: “Numerous women now, and many more in the future, face the destruction of their frozen eggs, and their chances of becoming mothers, simply because of an arbitrary ten-year limit on storage. This Bill is asking for a speedy review of that limit.
“Will the government show compassion, move to support these women’s human rights and give them hope?”
Professor Emily Jackson, specialist in medical law at the London School of Economics, said: “The current law forces clinics to destroy women’s eggs after ten years’ storage. This means that a woman who freezes her eggs at the age of 25 has to have those eggs destroyed, against her wishes, when she is 35. This is pointless, cruel and a very clear breach of women’s human rights. It is also easily fixed, and this Bill asks the government to consider a small change in the law which would make a very big difference to those women who just want to be able to have children using their own frozen eggs in the future.”
“I believe the ten year storage limit needs to be extended”
Caroline had to use donor eggs to become a mum, after the age at which she froze her eggs. at 39, impacted on their quality and IVF using them when she was 42 was unsuccessful.
She said: “If younger women have the foresight to freeze eggs when they still have quality, it’s outrageous that they might be forced to use them before they are ready, potentially pushing them into solo motherhood to avoid the eggs being destroyed. I wouldn’t change my situation now, as I love my daughter to bits, but it is a big adjustment to make – moving from using your own eggs to donor eggs – and women who freeze their eggs are obviously hoping to have a genetically-related child. Freezing eggs at a younger age is the best way to achieve this, so I strongly believe the ten-year storage limit needs to be extended.”
Have you frozen your eggs and is the storage time coming to an end? Are you in this dilemma? Email us your story, firstname.lastname@example.org