Women whose frozen eggs are set to be destroyed by UK government for breaching ten-year time limit launch legal challenge claiming breach of human rights
- After ten years, IVF clinics have to destroy frozen eggs
- The time limit was set over concerns the eggs would deteriorate over time
- But women have launched a legal challenge to keep their eggs until they turn 55
Women whose frozen eggs are set to be destroyed because of a government-imposed time limit have launched a legal challenge to change the law.
Under the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act, the maximum length of time eggs can remain frozen is ten years. The time limit was set over concerns the eggs would deteriorate after this time.
After ten years, IVF clinics have to destroy the eggs, use them to create embryos, or move them out of the UK to another country.
Women who are diagnosed as being prematurely infertile are exempt from the rule and are allowed to access frozen eggs until the age of 55.
A time limit on frozen eggs in the UK is ten years but women have launched a campaign to change the law
But lawyers for a group of women claim the rules are arbitrary or outdated – and in breach of human rights laws.
One of the women involved in the legal challenge, whose name has been given only as ‘Andi’, said yesterday: ‘My frozen eggs represent my last chance of having a child that is biologically my own, and the clinic has told me they will be destroyed in a matter of months.
‘It is hard to describe the sense of bereavement and turmoil that comes with being told that your eggs will be destroyed.
The women involved in the challenge want the right to be able to keep their eggs frozen until they reach 55
‘I believe that women should have the right to choose when to have children, not be scared into having them before they are ready because they are worried about future infertility.’
The women involved in the challenge want the right to be able to keep their eggs frozen until they reach 55.
Salima Budhani, a solicitor at Bindmans LLP who is acting for the women, said: ‘There have been significant medical advances and social progress since the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 passed through Parliament but the rules relating to non-medical egg freezing have not changed.’
A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘The Government has no plans to reconsider this legislation at this time.’