Eggs, sperm and embryos can now be stored for up to 55 years

Eggs, sperm and embryos can now be stored for up to 55 years

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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,” the government 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,” the government added.

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Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.