I froze my eggs to have family but archaic laws mean I’m about to lose my only chance
Women should have the right to choose when to have children.
But the ‘ticking clock’ of fertility can be a massive source of anxiety, pushing women to have children before they are ready or have found the right partner.
About 10 years ago I decided to take control over these feelings by freezing some of my eggs. I did not take the decision lightly, but it was a huge relief to know that I would have the option available to me at some future point to use my own eggs in IVF, if I needed to. Egg freezing, or ‘vitrification’, is a fertility treatment that has been growing in popularity over the past few years.
I was quite an early adopter: since 2010 there has been a 460 per cent increase in women freezing their eggs. The process gives women peace of mind that they will be able to start a family in the future, when they are ready.
But there’s a catch. Under the current law, most women can only freeze their eggs for 10 years (the only exception to this is if you are prematurely infertile.) That means that if you freeze your eggs when you’re 25 they will be destroyed when you are 35 – which might be a while before you actually want to use them. T
here is no rational basis for this law. Experts agree that the law is completely arbitrary and outdated. I have decided instead to fight for all women to have another choice: to extend the time limit on egg storage. I have joined with other women who are facing the destruction of their eggs, and we are launching a legal fund to fight for change.
The time limit comes from the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 – a law which was written almost 30 years ago. Since then, fertility treatments have come on leaps and bounds, but sadly the law has not kept up. Most fertility experts agree the optimal biological time for a woman to freeze eggs is in her mid 20s, or at least below the age of 35. This is because a woman’s age is a key factor in egg quality and quantity.
Yet with the current 10 year storage limit in place, her eggs might be destroyed before she is ready to use them. It makes no sense. I froze my eggs almost 10 years ago, and so my time is nearly up. I have been told my eggs will be destroyed if I do not use them before the time runs out.
Due to my personal circumstances, those eggs are probably my last opportunity to have children that are biologically my own. It is hard to describe the sense of bereavement and turmoil that comes with being told that your last chance of having your own children is going to be destroyed.
I am facing a stark choice: fertilise the eggs to create embryos, undergo IVF to have a baby now, or try to get my eggs moved out of the UK to a country that allows you to store your eggs for longer. All of these options are incredibly expensive and risky.
I have decided instead to fight for all women to have another choice: to extend the time limit on egg storage. I have joined with other women who are facing the destruction of their eggs, and we are launching a legal fund to fight for change. We have had advice from lawyers who think we have a good chance of showing that this law is a breach of our human rights. If we can prove this, the government will have to change the law. We now need to raise funds to take the initial legal steps to challenge the government. We’re fighting this for single women, for couples (whether straight or LGBTQ+), and for anyone who needs more time, to have the right to have a family. And in doing so, there is a chance we can save our eggs in the process.
Original from Metro