Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_159064

#ExtendTheLimit: What Now For Egg Freezing?

Progress Educational Trust
Event to be held online, via Zoom Video Webinars
28 September 2021 5.30pm-7.30pm (BST)

A free-to-attend online event, taking place today (Tuesday 28 September 2021) from 5.30pm-7.30pm (BST), discussing the future of egg freezing in light of a change of policy announced this month by the UK Government.

This event will be chaired by Sarah Norcross, with speakers including:

  • Baroness Ruth Deech (Crossbench Peer in the House of Lords, calling for an immediate moratorium on the destruction of eggs that reach the current legal limit)

  • Professor Jason Kasraie (Chair of the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists)

  • Mark Wilcox (Group Medical Director at CARE Fertility)

  • Sharon Jones (patient who has frozen her eggs, and patient face of the #ExtendTheLimit campaign and petition)

  • Steve Pugh (Team Leader for Assisted Conception and Embryology at the UK Government's Department of Health and Social Care)

  • Joanne Anton (Head of Policy at the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority)

The event is produced by the Progress Educational Trust (PET) with the support of the British Fertility Society, CooperSurgical, the London Egg Bank, the Senior Infertility Nurse Group and TMRW Life Sciences.

Following PET's #ExtendTheLimit campaign and petition, the UK Government has finally announced that it intends to extend the length of time for which eggs may be legally stored, if those eggs are frozen for non-medical reasons – so-called 'social' egg freezing.

The Government is effectively proposing to abolish the current distinction between 'medical' and 'non-medical' reasons for freezing, thereby allowing all patients to renew consent – every 10 years, for up to 55 years overall – for the storage of eggs (and also sperm and embryos).

Many, including PET, have welcomed this announcement. But much will depend on the fine detail of how, and when, the relevant changes are implemented.

  • Which law(s) will be changed, and how? When will the changes come into effect?

  • What will happen to frozen eggs that reach the current limit before the law is changed? Will the Government heed calls to introduce an immediate moratorium on the destruction of eggs that reach the current limit?

  • The Government has said that 'there will be new requirements for statutory 10-year review periods and explicit written consent from the patient will be required to continue storage'. What will these 'new requirements' be?

  • The Government has also warned that its proposed changes 'have consequential implications for some particular storage classifications, including third-party donations, known or family donations, posthumous use and research'. What will these 'consequential implications' be?

  • To what extent will new arrangements be specified in legislation, and to what extent will these arrangements be left to the fertility regulator – the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority – to define?

This event will see these questions addressed by speakers from Government, Parliament, professional bodies and patient campaigning.

If tweeting about this event, please use the hashtag #ExtendTheLimit

Attendees will not be audible or visible during this online event, but will still be able to put questions and comments to the speakers and chair, via a Q&A tool within Zoom Video Webinars.