Government to increase storage limits for eggs, sperm and embryos to a 10 year renewable period.
People across the UK will have more choice over when to start a family as the government sets out plans to increase the storage limits for eggs, sperm and embryos.
Following a public consultation last year, proposals will be introduced to increase the statutory storage limits for everyone from the current 10 years, to a 10 year renewable storage period up to a maximum of 55 years.
Under the new system, prospective parents will be given the option at 10 year intervals to keep or dispose of frozen eggs, sperm and embryos.
This update not only ensures greater reproductive choice and less pressured decision-making for parents thinking about when to start a family, it will ensures greater equality as the same rules will apply to everyone and storage limits will not be dictated by medical need.
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said:
The proposed changes are made possible by using the latest freezing methods. Evidence shows frozen eggs can be stored indefinitely without deterioration, due to a new freezing technique called vitrification, and changes reflect the increasing success of using frozen embryos in routine IVF treatment.
It would be inappropriate for the limit to apply to all cases so there will be additional conditions around third party donors and posthumous use. This will be consulted upon separately.
Julia Chain, Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Chair, said: