New Bill brings hope for women with frozen eggs
A new Bill has recently been introduced in the House of Lords, calling for a review of the current law which regulates how long frozen gametes (eggs and sperm) can be stored for.
At the moment, gametes can be stored for a maximum of 10 years, and if they are not used when the limit expires, they must be destroyed. There is an exception where the gametes have been stored for medical reasons (in cases where someone is or is likely to become prematurely infertile), in which case the limit can be extended.
Campaigners have been arguing that this limit is especially unfair to women, as the quality of their eggs declines in their mid to late 30s. If a woman freezes her eggs when she is 25, for example, she must use the eggs in treatment by the time she is 35. Unless she is ready to start a family at that point (with a partner or as a single parent using a sperm donor) she will lose her eggs. By this stage the quality of her remaining eggs will have declined, meaning she is less likely to be able to conceive her own biological child.
The new Bill proposes that the law is amended so that people who have ‘not completed their family’ can apply to extend the storage time limit.
The current storage limits are outdated and put women in particular under unnecessary pressure and stress. This new Bill is an encouraging first step towards review and hopefully reform of legislation which is no longer fit for purpose.