Government extends storage limit for frozen eggs, sperm and embryos

21st July 2020 in News

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Government extends storage limit for frozen eggs, sperm and embryos

Patients currently hoping to start a family through IVF treatment now have an additional two years to achieve their dream, after the Government extended the length of time frozen eggs, sperm and embryos could be stored.

The changes have been introduced as a response to the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, when fertility treatment in the UK across the NHS and private sector was temporarily paused.

Under the new regulations, any sperm, eggs or embryos that were already in storage on 1 July 2020 – the date the changes come into effect – can now be stored for 12 years, rather than the previous 10, as long as the patient and donor gives consent.

Any sperm, eggs or embryos frozen after 1 July 2020, however, will still have a 10-year limit.

Sally Cheshire, chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which regulates the fertility sector in the UK, said: 

“We welcome the announcement from the Department of Health and Social care. We have been working together to ensure those patients who have stored sperm, eggs or embryos that are reaching the 10-year storage limit are not penalised by the current suspension of fertility treatment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We know this is a difficult and distressing time for all patients, so this decision brings good news for those who are reaching the 10-year storage limit. It provides them with some much-needed reassurance and most importantly gives more time to try for their much longed for family.”

The changes may also affect patients who have previously obtained permission to store eggs, sperm or embryos for an ‘extended period’, or who are affected by premature infertility.

You can find out more on the HFEA website.

Good news for Manchester Fertility patients

At Manchester Fertility, our expert team has been helping to create families through IVF treatment for over 30 years.

Dr Debbie Falconer, Person Responsible at Manchester Fertility, said:

“Many people rely on fertility treatment to help start a family. But the pandemic meant some people had their hopes on hold. This change means that anyone who has frozen their eggs, sperm and embryos will now be able to extend their storage for an additional 2 years, giving them precious extra time to turn their hopes into reality.”

Last updated: 21st July 2020