Embryo Storage

In Western Australia, an embryo may be stored for ten years from the date of freeze or the date the embryo/s was imported into Western Australia. The Reproductive Technology Council (Council) may approve an embryo storage extension when the application is received prior to the end of the storage date.

Your clinic will contact you at least three to six months before this date, to check whether you would like to continue storage or not. It is important that your clinic has your updated email, address and phone contact details.

It is illegal for the clinic to store an embryo beyond the permitted storage period. The clinic will not be subject to liability if the permitted storage period has ended and no application for extension is made.

  • Contact your clinic to discuss embryo storage issues. They will provide you with an embryo storage extension application form to complete. You will be required to state your reason for seeking an extension and sign the appropriate form.
  • The clinic will submit it to Council on your behalf and they will be notified after it has been considered at the monthly Council meeting. The clinic will contact you to notify you of the outcome and if applicable, the new expiry date.
  • General enquiries about embryo storage can be submitted to rtu@health.wa.gov.au
  • You may give consent to have the embryos removed from storage and allowed to succumb. You may wish to provide consent for non-living embryos to be used for training purposes.
  • You may give consent for your embryo/s to be donated for the use of treatment for eligible recipient/s. You will need to have counselling and provide consent in line with current legislative requirements.
  • You may give consent for the embryos to be donated for research. The National Health and Medical Research Council’s Embryo Research Licensing Committee, under a nationally consistent legislative scheme, must license these uses.

It can sometimes be difficult to decide what to do with your embryos or both partners may not be in agreement. Your clinic will be able to provide more information about the options or arrange counselling that may assist you to reach a decision.

Where embryos have been donated for the treatment of another couple, the donating couple will need to apply for a storage extension through the clinic if the donation process has yet to be finalised or the embryos are not yet allocated. The recipients take over this responsibility when they sign the appropriate consent forms.

Where embryos have been declared to be excess ART embryos and donated for a use that requires licensing by the NHMRC Licensing Committee, the clinics are able to apply for extensions of permitted storage.