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New rules extend embryo storage

New government regulations will allow women to store their embryos for a longer period of time.

The Health Minister Gillian Merron made the supplementary provision to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 that will extend the life of embryos to ten years before they are destroyed.

Present rules allow embryos to be stored only for five years, but the new rules will enable women whose embryos were to be destroyed in the coming weeks to store them for longer.

Ms Merron said that the new rules would be effective from October 1, and that she would try to make it applicable to embryos that are 'out of time' by that date.

Without an Order to Parliament, and other action, the embryos of several would be destroyed before October 1.

She added: "For these women, this is tremendously important as it is all about extending their chance to have a much-wanted child.

"Their circumstances are morally straightforward but legally very complex - we have been urgently seeking ways to help them and I am very pleased today to be able to give them hope by taking this commonsense action."

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Department of Health