Fertility campaigners and experts are placing pressure onto the government to change the time limit on how long women can store their frozen eggs. As it stands, women who choose to freeze their eggs for social reasons can store them for a maximum of ten years. After that, the eggs are required to be destroyed if they haven’t been used for IVF. Campaigners argue that the time should be lengthened to keep up with modern society.
Here, we’ll look at the current laws regarding egg freezing and why it’s time for them to change.
What are the current laws and when were they introduced?
Current laws state that eggs frozen for social purposes, rather than fertility purposes, can be stored for a maximum of 10 years. After that, they need to be destroyed. If premature fertility issues are likely to be a problem, this limit can be increased to up to 55 years.
The current laws were introduced in 1990 through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. At the time the 10-year storage limit was set, fertility clinics relied upon slow-freezing techniques, which meant that the eggs couldn’t last much longer than 10 years.
Why are fertility experts campaigning for change?
These days, technology has vastly improved the fertility sector, enabling experts to freeze eggs for much longer. Not only that, but the age in which women are choosing to start a family has also increased.
Since 2010, more women than ever before have started to freeze their eggs. It’s common for women to focus more on their careers and travelling before they settle down and have children in today’s society. Therefore, the 10-year time limit that was introduced in 1990 is vastly outdated. There has also been an increase in the number of women waiting until they find the right partner before they contemplate having kids. So, fertility experts are campaigning to change the law in accordance with today’s technology and society.
What impact would lengthening the time limit have on society?
The debate over changing the laws was actually brought up in the House of Lords in 2018. Lord O’Shaunghnessy, a Conservative, argued that an extension to the length of time eggs can be stored, would have “far-reaching impacts on decisions that women make in starting families”. He claimed that there would need to be a public debate before a change in the current laws could be contemplated.
There is a worry that lengthening the time span would lead to women starting families a lot later than they do now. So, some experts are concerned about the impact that would have on society. However, the key thing that needs to be remembered within the debate, is that ultimately it should be down to each individual woman when she wants to start a family.
As fertility declines in a woman’s 30s, the eggs need to ideally be frozen in their 20s. However, under current laws, this means the eggs may need to be destroyed before the women are ready to start a family. Times and have changed and the laws also need to change in order to reflect modern technology and society.
If you’re concerned about your future fertility, the first step is to book a fertility health check so you can make informed decisions about your next steps. Call 07835 736627 or 0121 308 7774 to book an appointment at SureScan.