Help others to be mothers - #ExtendTheLimit on social egg freezing
Increasing numbers of women in the UK are facing a stark choice between seeing their frozen eggs destroyed or becoming a mother before they are ready to do so, because of an outdated and unscientific law. You can help them by signing and sharing our #ExtendTheLimit petition.
Two years after the Progress Educational Trust (PET) first launched its #ExtendTheLimit campaign, we welcome the UK Government's announcement of its intention to extend limits on gamete and embryo storage.
In particular, we welcome the planned extension – from 10 years to 55 years – of the maximum storage limit for eggs frozen for non-medical reasons, a practice often referred to as 'social egg freezing'.
However, the relevant changes to the law have yet to be made. Please help PET to keep up the pressure on Government, by signing and sharing our online petition at www.change.org/extendthelimit
'PET's #ExtendTheLimit campaign has brought together professionals and patients to call for change. We are delighted that the Government seems intent on making the changes we have campaigned for.
'Egg freezing should empower women to choose the best time to start a family, not impose new limits on them. The Government has acknowledged that there is no longer a scientific basis for a 10-year legal limit, and that such a limit does not protect patients – on the contrary, it limits their options and creates greater anxiety.
'A change to the law will be hugely significant for many women – not just those who have already frozen their eggs, but also women who may be considering doing so. Extending the 10-year storage limit on social egg freezing will enable the exercise of reproductive choice, freeing women from the constraints of an outdated, discriminatory and unscientific law, and the threat of having their eggs destroyed against their will or being forced to become a mother before they are ready to do so.
'Extending the limit will also spare women from the additional financial burden of funding the transfer of frozen eggs overseas, and subsequent fertility treatment abroad.'
'Egg freezing is the fastest growing fertility treatment in the UK. Consequently, increasing numbers of women have been under pressure to use their eggs before they are ready to do so. This Government announcement promises to give women who have frozen their eggs greater flexibility about when to use them.
'Women who have delayed freezing, because they are concerned about being unable or unwilling to use their eggs within the time limit, should have the latitude to freeze earlier when the eggs may be of better quality.
'Using present-day technology, eggs and sperm are as fit for purpose after 55 years on ice as they are after 10.'
Who else is involved?
Dr Zoe Williams, who froze her eggs when she was 38, says: 'There is no scientific reason for eggs to be destroyed at 10 years and there are numerous reasons why this arbitrary rule is harmful to women and couples. For women who are reaching the 10-year threshold, I cannot imagine the unnecessary heartache of their investment in future parenthood being literally flushed down the toilet.'
PET's amazing volunteer Sharon Jones has agreed to share her story, explaining the personal impact that the 10-year limit is having on her and on many other women.
The #ExtendTheLimit campaign launched in October 2019, receiving widespread media coverage. Just five months later, the campaign celebrated its first major success when the Government announced a public consultation on extending the 10-year limit for eggs, as well as for sperm and embryos.
Caroline Dinenage, who was the Government's Minister of State for Care when this consultation was launched, said: '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.'
The #ExtendTheLimit campaign is also supported by politicians including the Crossbench Peer Baroness Ruth Deech, who has discussed the issue in the House of Lords.