Considering the Rules and Costs of Storage

To make sure that clinics aren't left with 'orphaned' frozen eggs, sperm or embryos, all Australian states and territories have laws and regulations regarding how long you can store frozen eggs, sperm and embryos.

1 New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory: These states follow the National Health and Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) Ethical Guidelines on the Use of Assisted Reproductive Technology in Clinical Practice and Research, which stipulate that

• When eggs and sperm are frozen, the maximum length of storage time should be stated in the consent form that the gamete provider signs before freezing. If the provider hasn't used the frozen material by the end of this time and hasn't consented to prolonging the storage time, the clinic should discard the gametes.

• Embryos can be stored for a maximum of five years, but after that time consent can be renewed and storage extended for another five years.

1 South Australia and Northern Territory: Although there's no legal storage time limit for eggs and sperm, clinics follow the NHMRC guidelines and state a maximum storage time in the consent form that the gamete provider signs. Embryos can be stored for a maximum of ten years and during this time clinics are required to contact couples every 12 months to ask them whether they want to continue keeping their embryos in storage.

i Victoria: The maximum storage time for eggs and sperm is ten years. Embryos can be stored for five years only, but couples can apply to the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (www.varta.org.au) for an extension of this storage period.

i Western Australia: There's no storage time limit for eggs and sperm, but individual clinics have rules for how long they store gametes. Embryos can be frozen for a maximum of ten years, but the Reproductive Technology Council can extend this storage time under special circumstances.

Some couples decide what to do with their unused embryos before the maximum storage time is up, and some have trouble making a decision and wait until the storage time limit is up and they're forced to make a decision.

Unless you notify the clinic about your decision beforehand, the clinic contacts you a few months before the maximum storage time limit expires and asks you to decide what you want done with your embryos. If you're still unsure at this point, you may find talking over your options with the clinic counsellor helpful.

Remember to notify the clinic if you move house, so that the clinic can still contact you about your frozen embryos. Sometimes when clinics write to couples to let them know that their frozen embryos are approaching the storage time limit, they find that they are no longer at their last known address. 'Orphaned' embryos are destroyed after the maximum storage time limit expires.

All clinics charge a fee for keeping your frozen gametes or embryos — usually a few hundred dollars per year. The cost of storage is not refundable by Medicare or private health insurance schemes. Although this amount may seem quite small in the scheme of things, usually it's enough to prompt couples to make a decision about their embryos if they're not planning to use them.

Pregnancy Diet Plan

Pregnancy Diet Plan

The first trimester is very important for the mother and the baby. For most women it is common to find out about their pregnancy after they have missed their menstrual cycle. Since, not all women note their menstrual cycle and dates of intercourse, it may cause slight confusion about the exact date of conception. That is why most women find out that they are pregnant only after one month of pregnancy.

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