You may have read a recent media report about an IVF clinic in Sheffield which destroyed a patient’s embryos, because they hadn’t received the required consent form in time. The paperwork had actually arrived at different hospital department, unknown to the clinic.
So could this happen at other fertility clinics? When you undergo treatment with Manchester Fertility, you may have the option to store some of your eggs, sperm or embryos, for future use.
In order for us to store them for you, legally we need signed, consent paperwork. This gives us your legal permission to store your eggs, embryos or sperm on your behalf.
The typical storage period is 10 years. This means for instance, if you have successful IVF and choose to store embryos to use in future to try for another baby, that you have a 10-year window to decide whether you want to use your stored embryos.
If you’ve not used your eggs, embryos or sperm, we start the process of getting in touch with you around six months before the 10-year expiry date of your consent. This gives us plenty of time to ensure we can contact you, and sort out the necessary legal paperwork, to carry out your wishes.
We will endeavor to contact you by all means possible, we do not just rely on the post and your updated consent form arriving with us in time. But it is illegal for us to store your eggs, embryos or sperm once the expiry date of your consent has passed.
This is why it’s so important to ensure that your contact details are always kept up to date with our team. It is your responsibility to let us know if you change your address or phone number. Even if it’s been many years since you had treatment with us. As long as you still have eggs, embryos or sperm with us, you need to ensure that we can get in touch with you.
So what are your options for your stored eggs, embryos or sperm? You do not have to use them to have another baby if you don’t wish to. You can choose to donate your embryos, eggs and sperm so that we can use them to help other patients. You will then become an egg, sperm or embryo donor, and receive the full support of our team, including counselling, regarding the implications of donating.
Or you can opt for them to be discarded, or instead for our team to use them for study and research. We will discuss your options fully with you in plenty of time.
If you have any concerns about storing eggs, embryos or sperm, please speak to our friendly team on 0845 268 2244. We’d be happy to reassure you.
Last updated: 20th January 2020