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Reproductive and Gynaecological Health 2021

Time to give women reproductive choice

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Sarah Norcross

Director, Progress Educational Trust

Increasing numbers of women in the UK are facing the stark choice of having to destroy their frozen eggs because of an outdated and unscientific law.


Social egg freezing – freezing your younger, healthy eggs in order to be able to use them at a later date – has the potential to empower women, in essence freeing women from their biological clocks.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, social egg freezing was the fastest growing fertility treatment in the UK, according to the fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

Pandemic pressures

Since the pandemic, fertility clinics have reported a sharp rise in the numbers of women enquiring about the procedure, triggered by concerns that opportunities to meet a partner are currently severely reduced.

But a major problem remains for those women who opt to pay for the expensive treatment (on average between £7,000-8,000) which is the restrictive storage limit for social egg freezing.

Under current UK law, women who freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons can only store them for 10 years.

Restrictive, outdated legislation

Under current UK law, women who freeze their eggs for non-medical reasons can only store them for 10 years. This means if a woman freezes her eggs when she is 28, she has to be ready to use them before she is 38. If she doesn’t use them, they are destroyed.

The Progress Educational Trust is campaigning for the 10-year limit to be changed because it damages women’s chances of becoming biological mothers. This is a law that is unscientific because eggs can be frozen for longer than 10 years and it is outdated because egg freezing technology has changed substantially in the last decade. With more women than ever choosing to freeze their eggs, it is time for the law to be changed.

Women should not have to destroy their eggs and perhaps their only chance of becoming biological mothers because of an outdated and unscientific law. Women deserve reproductive choice.

#ExtendTheLimit

You can help others to be mothers by signing PET’s petition to change the law at www.change.org/extendthelimit By signing it, this will send a very strong message to the Government that this is an issue that needs addressing now.

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