It’s time to change the 10 year limit on storing frozen eggs
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Date Published:05 Mar 2019 Last Updated:25 Oct 2021

It’s time to change the 10 year limit on storing frozen eggs

Fertility Law

Under current UK law, eggs which are frozen for so-called ‘social’ reasons can be stored for up to 10 years. When the 10 year limit is up, the eggs must be destroyed by the clinic.

The position is different if the eggs are stored for medical reasons (for example, because someone is going to have chemotherapy which is likely to make them prematurely infertile). In this case, the limit can be extended by another 10 years, up to a maximum of 55 years in total.

Medical advice is clear – the best time for a woman to freeze her eggs is when she is in her 20s or early 30s. Once her eggs have been frozen, the clock starts ticking and she must be ready and able to start a family within the next 10 years, otherwise she will lose her eggs. She will then be 10 years older, which means that her chances of conceiving will be lower.

Egg freezing is expensive – both the process of having eggs collected, and also having to pay annual storage costs. A woman will have had to go through an invasive and uncomfortable procedure to have her eggs collected, and so the thought that this may all have been for nothing must be particularly difficult to bear.

Scientific advances in freezing technologies mean that eggs can be frozen for very long periods of time with no impact on their quality, and those in the fertility sector are growing increasingly frustrated that this arbitrary time limit is meaning that some women are losing their best hope of having biological children.

Our fertility team at Ellis Jones are joining the call for the law to change, and we are passionate about raising awareness of this issue. Suzi Denton, one of our specialist fertility lawyers, has published a blog in the Huffington Post calling for law reform which you can read here.

If you are impacted by the issues above, please contact our highly specialist Fertility Team who will be able to assist. Call our expert team on 01202 525333 or send us an email enquiry to fertility@ellisjones.co.uk.