You can now freeze your eggs in the UK for up to 55 years
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Last month, the UK lifted its 10-year limit on the storage of eggs, sperm and embryos, giving potential parents more control over their fertility.
There are all kinds of reasons why women want to preserve their fertility, whether it’s because they want to focus on their careers, be more financially stable, waiting to find the right partner or Still not feeling ready to start a family. (If you’re thinking about freezing your eggs, keep reading to get a break down of the costs, and here’s more in our guide).
But until recently, the decision to freeze your eggs or embryos (which is when your eggs have already been fertilized) was complicated by the fact that, by law, they were only stored for 10 years. could have been done.
This left some women in bondage. Delaying the procedure until your late 30s will obviously keep your fertility longer. However, freezing your eggs before age 35 increases your chances of a successful pregnancy, a 2016 report Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA)
This meant that when women who had frozen their eggs reached the 10-year mark, they were faced with “a limited number of crisis and potentially financially crippling choices”, director Sarah Norcross said. Tells. Progress Educational Trust (PET),
Speaking on behalf of the charity, which works to improve options for people affected by infertility and genetic conditions, Norcross says the options were: “Their eggs were destroyed (and with them probably the biological mother). their best or only chance of becoming a parent before they are ready to do so (either as a single mother with a partner or through sperm donation); or at a fertility clinic overseas Trying to fund egg transfers (and having fertility treatments abroad at a later date).
Meanwhile, the rules were different for parents to be ‘prematurely infertile’. For example, if you were freezing your eggs or sperm before cancer treatment, you can freeze them for up to 55 years.
PET responded in 2019 by launching a campaign to change the law. And last September, the UK government announced its plans to extend the 10-year ban for everyone to 55 years.
In a statement, former health minister Sajid Javid said: “The existing storage system can be severely restrictive for those who make important decisions about starting a family, and this new law is keeping people ticking behind. Will help to do. brains. ”
From July 1, the change in law has finally been passed. Now, every ten years, patients will be able to choose whether to continue storing or to donate or dispose of their eggs, sperm or embryos.
To learn more about the impact of these changes, we spoke to Cynthia Hudson, a leading embryologist and VP of clinical strategy at the fertility tech company. TMRW Life Sciences,
What does this news mean for the girls?
The increase in allowable storage periods means that patients in their early 20s can now confidently consider freezing their eggs, knowing they will be able to use them when they are ready to have children.
The comfort this law has brought (and will bring) to patients is profound. Knowing that they are not on the hook for yet another “watch” gives patients a great deal of leeway in deciding their future plans. It is liberating and empowerment, and should work to reduce the stress and anxiety around the pressures of family building.
Do you expect that more women will choose to freeze their eggs as a result?
The number of patients seeking egg freezing in the UK is increasing, and is expected to continue to do so, especially in light of the new law. The 10-year limit on storage almost certainly protects females from egg freezing, although this has not been widely reported. I’ve been in discussions recently with several clinics that are seeing a surge of new patients, and the new law is a big part of the conversation.
The change in law is beneficial for everyone, and certainly for trans people who want to preserve their choices. Freezing eggs prior to transition gives patients the flexibility they need to explore their short- and long-term plans without the pressure of 10 years of clockwork in the background.
What are the other major obstacles to egg freezing?
One of the biggest barriers to egg freezing is cost. I will discuss the financial costs here, but there are emotional and physical costs to consider as well.
According to the HFEA, the average cost of keeping your eggs collected and frozen in the UK is £3,350, with the drug added to the total of £500-£1,500. Storage costs are additional and range between £200 and £400 per year. When you’re ready to use your eggs, you’ll need to contact your clinic to make a plan to thaw and fertilize them (essentially do an IVF cycle). You will also need to undergo treatment to prepare your uterus to receive the resulting embryo. The process costs an average of £2,500, with no medication or male partner workup involved, so the entire process of freezing and thawing eggs costs an average of £7,000–£8,500.
There are a few options available to reduce this cost. Some donor egg banks in the UK will cover
Egg freezing cost in exchange for the patient donating half of his eggs to the bank. Egg freezing is also available on the NHS if you need a medical treatment that could affect your future fertility.
It is important to research your options and seek the advice of a fertility specialist who can answer all your questions.