Egg freezing and UK law
While egg freezing is growing in popularity in the UK, the numbers of egg freezing cycles remain small. In 2016, there were 1,310 egg freezing cycles undertaken in the UK. This represents around 1.5% of the overall fertility treatment cycles in the UK in 2016.
There were only 519 egg thawing treatment cycles in the UK in 2016. Only 35% of these treatment cycles involved a woman’s own eggs and 65% represented donor eggs.
In 2016, 56 babies were born from frozen eggs in the UK (39 using a woman’s own eggs and 117 using donor eggs).
How much does egg freezing cost in the UK?
The average cost of egg freezing, storage and associated fertility treatment in the UK is around £7,000 – £8,000.
Do I need legal advice?
Specialist legal advice can help manage a range of legal and practical issues to consider when considering egg freezing, which include:
- Giving informed legal (as opposed to medical) consent to fertility preservation (egg freezing) and treatment at a UK fertility clinic.
- Tailored advice about legal issues and process associated with extended storage of eggs in the UK.
- Tailored advice about fertility preservation options and law as a trans or non-binary individual.
- Tailored advice about future family building options and law (to include options if conception with own eggs is unsuccessful).
- Storage and use of eggs in posthumous fertility treatment.
Why freeze my eggs?
There are a number of reasons why women choose to freeze their eggs, which include:
- Cancer treatment
- Health reasons
- Transitioning gender
- Not yet ready to have a baby
- Not met the right partner with whom to have a child
Current medical opinion advises that if eggs are frozen before a women reaches age 35, her chances of successfully conceiving a child will be higher than the natural conception rate as she gets older.
However, egg freezing does not guarantee a baby. This makes it important to carefully consider the issues and implications of egg freezing, including options if this proves unsuccessful (e.g. poor quality eggs collected, eggs perish during thawing, embryos comprising thawed eggs do not implant).
How long can I freeze my eggs for?
Currently, you can only freeze eggs in the UK for social reasons for up to 10 years. However, it can sometimes be possible for medical reasons to extend storage of eggs beyond 10 years up to an overall maximum of 55 years.