Sperm, eggs and embryo freezing limit set to increase to 55 years under overhaul of fertility rules | UK News

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Frozen sperm, eggs and embryos will be able to be stored for up to 55 years under planned changes to UK fertility rules.

Doctors argue the current limit of 10 years – after which parents must decide whether to undergo fertility treatment or have the cells destroyed – is too restrictive.

The statutory storage limit could increase more than five fold and no longer be governed by medical need, ministers have proposed.

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Sajid Javid said the change would help prospective parents not feel rushed

The plans follow a public consultation launched last year and will now need approval by parliament.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said it would remove the pressure of the “ticking clock in the back of people’s minds”.

The current system is “severely restrictive”, he added.

He said: “Technological breakthroughs – including in egg freezing – have changed the equation in recent years and it’s only right that this progress puts more power into the hands of potential parents.

“By making these changes, we are going to take a huge step forwards – not just for giving people greater freedom over their fertility, but for equality too.”

Under the plans, prospective parents would be given the option to keep or dispose of the frozen cells at 10-year intervals.

It comes as research from the Royal College of Obstetricians found a modern freezing technique could see frozen eggs stored indefinitely without deterioration.

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There will be additional restrictions around third party donors and the use of someone’s cells after they have died.

British Fertility Society chair Dr Raj Mathur welcomed the plans, and said: “This change ensures that UK regulation is compliant with the scientific evidence about the safety of storage, and protects the ability of all our patients to make reproductive choices for themselves as individuals and couples.”

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