The growing popularity of women choosing to freeze their eggs if they are at present not ready to have children or the circumstance don’t allow it, is evident in the numbers:
2012 – 395 egg freezing cycles
2013 – 551 egg freezing cycles
2014 – 677 egg freezing cycles
2015 – 1069 egg freezing cycles
2016 – 1171 egg freezing cycles
2017 – 1462 egg freezing cycles
In the space of 6 years there has been a four-fold increase in the numbers of cycles undertaken.
The 10 year limit on the amount of time that eggs and sperm can be kept for was set in 1990 and understandably the reliability of egg freezing and thawing techniques has improved significantly in 30 years.
A minister for the Department of Health, Caroline Dinenage said: “Although this could affect any one of us, I am particularly concerned by the impact of the current law on women’s reproductive choices,”
“A time limit can often mean women are faced with the heart-breaking decision to destroy their frozen eggs or feel pressured to have a child before they are ready.”
The government has in turn begun a consultation to investigate the safety and impact of storing frozen eggs for longer periods of time.
The chair of the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority), Sally Cheshire commented, “While any change to the 10-year storage limit would be a matter for Parliament, as it requires a change in law, we believe the time is right to consider what a more appropriate storage limit could be that recognises both changes in science and in the way women are considering their fertility,”
These are positive signs that both the government and the regulator are of the opinion that a review is need.
The HFEA is the regulatory body that oversees the use of eggs, sperm & embryos in fertility treatments and research. It also licenses all UK fertility clinics and centres carrying out in vitro fertilisation (IVF), other assisted conception procedures and human embryo research.
Data: https://www.hfea.gov.uk/media/2656/egg-freezing-in-fertility-treatment-trends-and-figures-2010-2016-final.pdf / https://www.bbc.co.uk/