This week at the Progress Educational Trust (21 February 2020)
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) is pleased to report that its #ExtendTheLimit campaign, to extend the 10-year storage limit for eggs frozen for non-medical reasons, has been responded to by the UK Government.
Thanks to PET's campaign, the Government has now launched a public consultation on extending the 10-year limit for eggs (as well as for sperm and embryos).
The Government's outgoing Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dinenage, has written about the issue. She says:
'If a woman wants to preserve her eggs, the optimal time to do so is in her 20s or early 30s. If she chooses to do this at the age of 28, she has to be ready to use them before she is 38.
'The current 10-year deadline can therefore leave her facing a gut-wrenching choice - become a parent before she is ready, use donor sperm to create embryos, or make the drastic and heartbreaking decision to destroy her eggs and possibly lose perhaps her only chance to have her own biological child.
'No woman should ever be denied the choice to become a mother, especially when our advancements in technology mean eggs and sperm can now be stored for longer.'
'Clearly there is a need to reconsider this limit, and that's why the Government has today announced our plans to consult on reviewing the existing storage limit, ensuring people' views are fully heard.'
Sarah has also been interviewed about the issue - alongside science broadcaster Dr Emily Grossman, who has herself had her eggs frozen for non-medical reasons (and is therefore affected by the time limit) - in the following items on national radio.
A 20-minute item on BBC Radio 2 with interviewer by Amol Rajan, which can be listened to here (the item begins at the 1:08:20 mark).
A 10-minute item on BBC Radio 5 with interviewer by Emma Barnett, which can be listened to here (the item begins at the 0:41:35 mark).
The Radio 2 item incorporates a reading of an article in iNews, by a woman who faces having her stored eggs destroyed under the current law.
The author of the article explains her predicament, expresses her support for PET's #ExtendTheLimit campaign, and urges people to respond to the Government's consultation.
Please support the #ExtendTheLimit campaign in the following ways.
Respond online to the UK Government's public consultation, before it closes on Tuesday 5 May 2020.
Use and share campaign images, on social media and elsewhere. These can be downloaded from the bottom of the #ExtendTheLimit webpage.
Register online to attend a free public event entitled 'Freezing Eggs: What Are Your Choices? What Are Your Chances?', taking place in London on the evening of Wednesday 29 April.
Make an online donation to the #ExtendTheLimit campaign.
Email PET's Head of Communications, Catherine Hill, at email@example.com for other ways to get involved.
For example, if the 10-year storage limit affects you personally, then you can volunteer to speak to the media.
The launch of the Government's consultation follows months of campaigning by PET, which began with a petition on the UK Parliament's petitions website. This attracted more than 1,000 signatures within the space of a week, but then had to be closed due to the UK's 2019 General Election.
PET's work on this issue has also been discussed in the House of Lords, and has received media coverage including the following.
In other policy-related news, PET's work on genome editing - in particular, PET's 'Basic Understanding of Genome Editing' project and follow-up work - has been cited by the Government and others during a recent debate in the House of Lords.
Introducing the debate, Baroness Joan Bakewell of the Labour Party began by referring to recommendations made by PET and its fellow charity Genetic Alliance UK, on the importance of using clear and consistent vocabulary when discussing genome editing.
During the debate, Baroness Sal Brinton of the Liberal Democrats thanked organisations including PET for 'excellent briefings'.
Concluding the debate, minister Lord James Bethell of the Conservative Party confirmed that the Government has 'committed to engaging world-class academics and expert groups such as the Progress Educational Trust, the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Wellcome Trust'.