Egg freezing in the UK
Bioethics Briefing Note
Egg freezing in the UK: practice
Even though many clinics offer EF, most takes place in a small number of clinics: in 2018, 67 clinics performed at least one EF cycle, but only five performed over 100. There has been significant growth in EF cycles in recent years: there was a 240% increase from 569 cycles in 2013 to 1,933 in 2018. However, EF comprises only a very small percentage of fertility cycles in the UK.
The average cost of having eggs collected and frozen is £3,350, with additional £500-£1,500 costs for medication. Storage costs are extra and tend to be £125-£350 per year. The NHS will only consider funding EF for medical reasons, although Scotland is considering NHS-funded SEF and the UK’s Health Secretary has indicated an ‘instinctive openness’ to Government-funded SEF. Healthy under-35s can ‘freeze and share’ to receive free/reduced-price treatment if they donate eggs to another patient (if the cycle is successful, resulting children can contact the donor when 18). Women may also travel abroad, where treatments may be cheaper, although leaving eggs overseas could be logistically problematic at the point of thawing. SEF cycles can also be funded by employers (see 'ethical issues'). This is not common in the UK.