Storage limits for eggs, sperm and embryos will be increased to a maximum of 55 years under government plans to give people greater choice over when to start a family, reports The Telegraph.
Current legislation specifies that eggs, sperm and embryos can be stored for a maximum of 10 years only, and for up to 55 years if there is a medical need such as a woman being at risk of premature infertility.
Ministers have proposed that the statutory storage limits should increase more than five-fold from the current limit of 10 years and should no longer be governed by medical need.
This means parents in their 60s and older could have children using eggs that were frozen more than 10 years before, if more IVF clinics allow women older than 50 to have treatment. Prospective parents would be given the option to keep or dispose of the frozen sex cells or embryos every 10 years under the new system.
Doctors say the current limit – after which prospective parents must decide whether to undergo fertility treatment or have the cells destroyed – is too restrictive and that the 10-year limit for “social” reasons versus the 55-year limit for “medical” reasons is unethical.
Egg freezing has soared in popularity, adds The Telegraph. In 2018, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said the number of women freezing their eggs had risen 460% since 2010. Research from the Royal College of Obstetricians has suggested that frozen eggs can be stored indefinitely without deterioration, thanks to a modern freezing technique.
The Telegraph article – Women will be able to freeze their eggs for 55 years (Restricted access)
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