Eggs, sperm and embryos not used in a treatment procedure can be stored for future use. While eggs and sperm (gametes) can be stored for 10 years, embryos can only be stored for five years.
According to the Assisted Reproductive Treatment Act 2008 (Vic) and our policy, unless we receive your consent to extend the storage period, we cannot keep in storage frozen gametes for longer than 10 years or frozen embryos for longer than five years.
It is important to note that the statutory time period for the storage of gametes and embryos commences from the date on which they were first stored. In the case of New South Wales, embryos created from donor gametes, the storage period commences from the date the donor gamete was first stored.
In Australia, each state has different legislation for the storage period allowed for eggs, sperm and embryos. This section gives you general information about our policy and storage periods by state.
Gametes: gametes may only be stored for a period of up to 10 years. A longer storage period is allowable if the person who has produced the gametes has written approval for a specified longer storage period and the CEO has approved that longer or further storage period.
Embryos: in addition to the first five years, a further storage period of up to five years is allowable so long as the persons who produced the embryo/s have re-consented to an additional period of up to five years and approval for an extension has been given by the CEO.
In Victoria, extension of storage would be subject to approval by the Patient Review Panel. You are permitted to extend the storage for a maximum of 10 years for gametes and five years for embryos upon approval.
Gametes and embryos must not remain in storage if the person who produced the gametes has asked for them to be removed. In the case of embryos, both of the persons who produced the gametes to form the embryo must consent to its removal.
If your gametes or embryos reach the end of their storage period and you have not applied for an extension of storage time, we are required by law to remove your gametes or embryos from storage.
In New South Wales, gametes and embryos may only be stored for a period of up to 10 years. In the case of donor embryos or embryos created from donor gametes, the time period is statutory.
Gametes or embryos stored by gamete providers for their own use (non-donor): approval for an extension is made on a case-by-case basis. The person/s who produced the gametes/embryos must submit a written request to the CEO for a specified longer storage period.
Donor gametes or embryos formed from donor gametes: approval for an extension must be sought in writing from the Director-General of NSW Health. After the storage period of 10 years, the gametes/embryos must not be used in ART treatment unless written authorisation has been provided by the Director-General.
Women who had embryos created using donated gametes in storage or conceived a child using donated gametes, prior to the commencement of the Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2007 (the Act) on 1 January 2010, are excluded from the restrictions in the Act relating to time limits on the storage and use of embryos and gametes. That is, there is no time limit on the use and storage of donated gametes, or embryos created using donated gametes, for women who:
Rainbow Fertility will contact you prior to the end of the storage period to find out your wishes in relation to the gametes or embryos you have in storage. It is important that you keep your contact details up-to-date with the clinic to ensure that we can contact you regarding this matter.
Please note: gametes (eggs/sperm) and embryos are stored in our RTAC (Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee) accredited fertility clinics.