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New law comes into force giving greater flexibility for fertility patients

New law comes into force giving greater flexibility for fertility patients

Fertility patients now have more time to make important decisions about their future following a change to the law that enables all patients to store their eggs, sperm and embryos for up to 55 years, providing they reconsent every 10 years.

From 1 July 2022, all patients can store their eggs, sperm and embryos for their own treatment for up to 55 years, providing they reconsent every 10 years; donors can store their eggs or sperm for use up to 55 years and do not need to renew their consent; and providing patients consent to their sperm, eggs or embryos being used in the event of their death, they can remain in storage for up to 10 years from the date they pass away.

The HFEA is supportive of the new law however it has extensive implications for clinics and for some patients.

Clinics must:

  • Audit all their stored material to accurately assess the consent status of any stored gametes or embryos.
  • Alongside the relevant information, offer patients counselling every time they are approached about giving or renewing consent.
  • Contact patients who have gametes or embryos in storage where there is no effective consent to storage in place or where consent to storage is due to expire within the Transitional Period to renew their consent. This must happen before 30 June 2023.
  • Use the new and revised consent forms that reflect these legal changes available on the HFEA website and ensure patients have these consents in place before 30 June 2024.

The new law also has important changes for people who try to preserve their fertility – patients about to undergo cancer treatment or hormone therapy for example. These patients can continue to store their eggs, sperm or embryos for up to 55 years but now they must reconsent every ten years; something they did not need to do previously.

Rachel Cutting, the HFEA’s Director for Compliance & Information, said:

“The change in law means that all patients have equal opportunity to store eggs, sperm or embryos for up to 55 years, providing consent is given every 10 years. The new law also enables greater accessibility for patients requiring donor sperm and eggs as this material now too, is available for up to 55 years providing consent is in place.

“Clinics have until 30 June 2023 to contact patients who have eggs, sperm or embryos in storage that are due to expire within the next two years. Consents using the updated or new forms must be in place for patients wishing to store for a further ten years by June 2024.

“For patients who have tried to preserve their fertility ahead of chemotherapy, radiotherapy or hormone therapy, it’s important they keep their contact details up to date so that clinics can reconsent every 10 years. We’ll be working with clinics and key patient facing organisations to ensure these patient groups are aware this important change.”

Guidance, flow charts and other information are available on Clinic Portal to support clinics implement the changes to the storage laws: New storage laws | HFEA.


Notes to editors

  • Under UK fertility law - Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 - anyone who wants to store their sperm, eggs (also known as gametes) or embryos can do so if they provide written consent.

  • Parliament passed the changes to the storage law in April 2022 under the Health and Social Care Act 2022 with the changes taking effect on July 1.

The HFEA’s response to the Government’s consultation of the changes to the storage law is available on the HFEA’s website.

About the HFEA

  • The HFEA is the UK’s independent regulator of fertility treatment and research using human embryos.
  • Set up in 1990 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, the HFEA is responsible for licensing, monitoring, and inspecting fertility clinics to ensure patients and everyone born through fertility treatment receives high quality care.
  • The HFEA is an ‘arm’s length body’ of the Department for Health and Social Care, working independently from Government providing free, clear, and impartial information about fertility treatment, clinics and egg, sperm and embryo donation.
  • The HFEA is funded by licence fees, IVF treatment fees and a grant from UK central government. For more information visit,

Review date: 25 August 2025