HM Insights

Time to change 'Ten Year Rule' for storage of frozen eggs for fertility treatments – take part in consultation

The family law team here at Harper Macleod were pleased to be able to complete the public consultation document recently issued by the Department of Health and Social Care in relation to the storage of eggs for use in fertility treatments.

Family creation is a specialist area in which the family law team practice. We have long been interested in the effect of the legislative provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Acts upon clients who wish to explore methods of creating a family.


In terms of current legislation, women who opted to freeze their eggs require to use them within 10 years, or face their destruction. Fertility clinics have no discretion in terms of extending the time limit. Many agencies have been campaigning for an extension to the time limit, but the consultation marks a positive step towards change.

Having been consulted by women adversely affected by the "Ten Year Rule", and having knowledge of the pressure the rule can place upon those whom it affects, it is heartening to see that change may be coming.

The consultation survey can be accessed here, and will close on 5 May 2020.

In 2019 I, as Head of Family Law at Harper Macleod, co-authored an article on the subject with Dr Marco Gaudoin, Medical Director of GCRM Fertility, which was published in the Journal of the Law Society of Scotland.

Post consultation, the legislative framework will be reviewed and, hopefully, changed. It will become important for those involved in family creation to be well informed and to seek advice from specialist solicitors who will be able to act as trusted advisers.

Get in touch

If you would like to have a confidential discussion about any aspect of family creation or fertility law, please contact Amanda Masson, Partner, on 0141 227 9394.

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