Ministry to Let Healthy Women Between 30 and 40 Freeze Ova

Women who want to delay pregnancy can receive fertility treatments funded by the state until age 54.

The Health Ministry is updating regulations governing the freezing of eggs by healthy women aged 30-40, for use in future fertilization. To date only women whose partners or themselves were under going fertility treatments were allowed to freeze eggs for future fertilization.

A committee headed by Prof. Michel Revel of the Weizmann Institute of Science prepared the new regulations and decided that healthy women aged 30-40 who would like to delay pregnancy for a variety of reasons would be allowed to freeze eggs for use in future pregnancies.

The cost is expected to run to hundreds of shekels per year, similar to the freezing of sperm which costs NIS 650 for a number of years.

According to the Health Ministry, fertility treatment will be allowed as part of the health basket for the first and second child until the age of 54, similar to the age limit set in legislation recently passed in the Knesset for the donation of eggs.

That legislation will go into effect February 2011.

The new egg-freezing regulations will go into effect next month and are another improvement to the availability of fertility treatments in Israel.

Miriam Huebner-Harel, legal counsel for the Health Ministry, says that "our main goal is to enable women to preserve their eggs for future fertility treatments without having to seek donations of eggs. The cost for the service is expected to be low."

The Eggs Law will effectively eradicate the business surrounding the need for women to travel abroad to purchase eggs.

A number of countries in the West allow the freezing of eggs for the purpose of future fertilization, a process known as "social egg freezing."

In 2007 a service of this kind was enabled in Britain and in the U.S. it has become commonplace, and is offered by more than half of all fertility clinics, according to a report two months ago by researchers from the University of Southern California who collected data on the phenomenon.