The RCOG has welcomed news that, following a public consultation, the UK Government will increase the statutory storage limits for eggs, sperm and embryos 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.
Commenting on the news, Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
"We very much welcome the UK Government’s move to increase the storage of eggs to a 10 year renewable period as it will give families and individuals more control over managing their fertility and more flexibility over when to start a family.
"Egg freezing allows women to have the chance to have children at a time that’s right for them. It is also for women going through therapies, such as chemotherapy, that may decrease their fertility but who still wish to have children. We know that women have better success rates when freezing their eggs at a younger age and this new legislation will enable them to freeze their eggs until the time is right for them."
Dr Raj Mathur, Chair of the British Fertility Society, said: "Technological advances mean that storage of reproductive material is a safe and effective way of protecting fertility for many individuals. This change will ensure that UK regulation is compliant with the scientific evidence about the safety of storage, and protects the ability of all our patients to make reproductive choices for themselves as individuals and couples.
"As professionals delivering care in this field, we are delighted that our advocacy has resulted in a change for the better for our patients, reducing unintended discrimination and protecting autonomy. We look forward to working with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to ensure clinics are supported to implement this change. We also call upon NHS commissioners to ensure that the required improvements to services are implemented fairly and all patients are able to benefit from this welcome change."
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