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Egg freezing petition forced to close by general election

11 November 2019
Appeared in BioNews 1023

The Progress Educational Trust's (PET's) #ExtendTheLimit campaign to extend the ten-year storage limit for social egg freezing gathered over 1000 signatures to its online petition in its first week but was forced to close it on 6 November because of the forthcoming general election. 

PET's director, Sarah Norcross, said: 'The overwhelming support for PET's #ExtendTheLimit campaign and online petition highlights just how important it is that the current legislation is changed to allow women to store eggs frozen for social reasons for more than ten years. PET plans to reintroduce the #ExtendTheLimit campaign when parliamentary business resumes; we will not let the Brexit election freeze out women's reproductive options.'

The #ExtendTheLimit campaign, which was launched at the start of Fertility Week 28 Oct-3 Nov 2019, generated widespread national and regional press coverage across traditional and social media, including BBC News online, BBC Radio 4's Today programme, BBC Radio 2, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, the Independent, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail , HuffPost, regional radio, the BMJ, Grazia and PR Week. 

Speaking on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire television show, Norcross said: 'The storage limit for social egg freezing should be the same as for women who have frozen their eggs for medical reasons: allowing for rolling ten-year extensions for up to 55 years.' 

The HFEA's chair Sally Cheshire told Derbyshire: 'Perhaps we have come to the point where the law needs reviewing.' 

The #ExtendTheLimit campaign was launched days after Baroness Ruth Deech's Storage Period for Gametes Bill received its first reading in the House of Lords. The Bill will be reintroduced when parliamentary business begins again.

Social egg freezing is increasingly being offered as part of company employee benefit plans. Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs recently announced its 'pathways to parenthood' programme which offers staff up to £15,500 to cover the costs of either egg extraction (including stimulation of the women's ovaries prior to egg retrieval) or to purchase donor eggs. The benefit plan does not cover egg storage, but does cover IVF treatment and sex-reassignment surgery.

As Goldman Sachs offers fertility treatment as a perk...should employers help staff freeze their eggs?
Daily Mail |  6 November 2019
Frozen eggs storage 10-year limit 'should be changed'
BBC News |  28 October 2019
Storage Period for Gametes Bill
UK Parliament |  24 October 2019
We must smash the 10-year limit on egg freezing if we want women to be equal
The Telegraph |  29 October 2019
Women Should Be Able To Freeze Eggs For More Than 10 Years, Say Campaigners
Huffington Post |  28 October 2019
11 May 2020 - by Sarah Norcross 
In addition to continuing with its #ExtendTheLimit campaign, PET has developed ten key principles on egg, sperm embryo storage which have informed its response to the UK government's consultation on this area...
23 March 2020 - by Dr Catherine Hill 
PET's #ExtendTheLimit petition to change the ten-year storage limit on social egg freezing relaunched ahead of Mother's Day with the key message: help others to be mothers...
17 February 2020 - by Christina Burke 
The UK government has launched a public consultation on whether to change the ten-year storage limit on frozen eggs, sperm, and embryos...
27 January 2020 - by Annabel Slater 
The legislation surrounding gamete freezing is complicated and difficult to comprehend, even for people with law degrees. The Progress Educational Trust's latest event 'Frozen Fertility: The Challenges of Storing Eggs, Sperm and Embryos', held at the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, set out to explore the current state of play...
12 January 2020 - by Professor Marcia C. Inhorn 
Women are electing to collect and freeze their eggs in the hope of preserving fertility for the future...
4 November 2019 - by Georgia Everett 
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) has launched its #ExtendTheLimit campaign, asking the UK public to sign an online petition requiring Parliament to address the law on egg freezing time limits...
28 October 2019 - by Dr Catherine Hill 
Increasing numbers of women in the UK are facing the stark choice of having to destroy their frozen eggs or become a mother before they are ready to do so because of an outdated law...
18 March 2019 - by Martha Henriques 
A group of women is bringing the UK's first legal challenge to the ten-year limit on preserving frozen eggs...
25 February 2019 - by Dr Yvonne Collins 
Baroness Nicola Blackwood, junior minister for innovation in the Department of Health and Social Care has acknowledged that there is a lack of evidence to back up the current time limit on egg freezing...
28 January 2019 - by Dr Katie Howe 
Fertility experts are campaigning for the UK government to review current legislation which means women who freeze their eggs must use them within 10 years...
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