Egg freezing petition forced to close by general election
Dr Catherine Hill
Progress Educational Trust12 November 2019
The Progress Educational Trust's (PET's) #ExtendTheLimit campaign to extend the ten-year storage limit for social egg freezing gathered over 1000 signatures to its online petition in its first week but was forced to close it on 6 November because of the forthcoming general election.
PET's director, Sarah Norcross, said: 'The overwhelming support for PET's #ExtendTheLimit campaign and online petition highlights just how important it is that the current legislation is changed to allow women to store eggs frozen for social reasons for more than ten years. PET plans to reintroduce the #ExtendTheLimit campaign when parliamentary business resumes; we will not let the Brexit election freeze out women's reproductive options.'
The #ExtendTheLimit campaign, which was launched at the start of Fertility Week 28 Oct-3 Nov 2019, generated widespread national and regional press coverage across traditional and social media, including BBC News online, BBC Radio 4's Today programme, BBC Radio 2, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, the Independent, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail , HuffPost, regional radio, the BMJ, Grazia and PR Week.
Speaking on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire television show, Norcross said: 'The storage limit for social egg freezing should be the same as for women who have frozen their eggs for medical reasons: allowing for rolling ten-year extensions for up to 55 years.'
The HFEA's chair Sally Cheshire told Derbyshire: 'Perhaps we have come to the point where the law needs reviewing.'
The #ExtendTheLimit campaign was launched days after Baroness Ruth Deech's Storage Period for Gametes Bill received its first reading in the House of Lords. The Bill will be reintroduced when parliamentary business begins again.
Social egg freezing is increasingly being offered as part of company employee benefit plans. Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs recently announced its 'pathways to parenthood' programme which offers staff up to £15,500 to cover the costs of either egg extraction (including stimulation of the women's ovaries prior to egg retrieval) or to purchase donor eggs. The benefit plan does not cover egg storage, but does cover IVF treatment and sex-reassignment surgery.
SOURCES & REFERENCES
|As Goldman Sachs offers fertility treatment as a perk...should employers help staff freeze their eggs?|
|Daily Mail | 6 November 2019|
|Frozen eggs storage 10-year limit 'should be changed'|
|BBC News | 28 October 2019|
|Storage Period for Gametes Bill|
|UK Parliament | 24 October 2019|
|We must smash the 10-year limit on egg freezing if we want women to be equal|
|The Telegraph | 29 October 2019|
|Women Should Be Able To Freeze Eggs For More Than 10 Years, Say Campaigners|
|Huffington Post | 28 October 2019|
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.