Before you receive any treatment, your doctor will explain what he or she is recommending; the risks involved and will answer any questions you might have. We want you to have all the information you need to decide whether you want treatment. No treatment is carried out without your consent.
You will be asked to sign consent forms confirming your agreement to treatment which will be sent out to you ahead of time so that you are familiar with the content. You may find the leaflet, Helping you decide – our consent policy (PDF 3.1Mb), useful. Please ask us for a copy.
Consent for the storage and use of gametes (eggs, sperm) and embryos
One of the consent forms asks you to confirm what you want to happen to your gametes (eggs or sperm). We need your permission to fertilise your gametes and to use your embryos for your treatment. Before you start an IVF or ICSI cycle, you must decide what will happen to:
any eggs or sperm which do not produce an embryo;
any embryos that are not chosen for replacement.
If the eggs do not fertilise within 24 hours, they cannot become embryos. They will be left to perish unless you choose to donate them for research. Similarly, any sperm left over after all the eggs have had a chance to be fertilised, will either be left to perish or can be used for research.
The best unaffected embryos are replaced and the remainder are checked for suitability for freezing, if you wish. Any embryos not replaced or frozen will be allowed to perish, unless you choose to donate them for research.
If you would like us to freeze your sperm or embryos, we have a legal obligation to ask what you would like to happen in the unfortunate event either of you dies or is no longer able to give consent to the use of your sperm or embryos. You will need to decide if you want your partner to:
continue to be able to use the sperm or embryos;
have the sperm or embryos thawed out and left to perish;
donate the sperm or embryos to research.
We understand these are difficult decisions. Please feel free to take time to think about these options and to ask us any questions. You may withdraw or change your consent up until the time the gametes or embryos are used.