Treatments and tests

Storage of sperm, eggs and embryos

  • The length of time sperm, eggs or embryos may be stored is set by the providers (for sperm or eggs) or in legislation (for embryos).
  • Embryos may be stored for up to 10 years or longer if approval is given.
  • It is important to think about available options before the storage period has run out.

Storage of sperm or eggs

In Western Australia, there are no laws that limit the length of time that sperm or eggs can be stored. Storage time limits for sperm or eggs are set by the sperm and egg providers and are documented as part of the consent process.

Storage of embryos

Time limits

In Western Australia, embryos may be stored for 10 years or a longer time period that has been approved by the Reproductive Technology Council (external site).

What happens at the end of the storage period?

Before the end of the storage period you need to consider the following options:

  • request approval for a storage extension
  • use the embryo
  • donate the embryo to a known or unknown recipient
  • donate the embryo for research purposes
  • allow the embryo to succumb.

Posthumous use of sperm, eggs or embryos

Western Australian laws about assisted reproductive technology are being reviewed. The WA Government supports further consideration and research related to the posthumous use of sperm, eggs or embryos as part of this process.


In Western Australia, the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991 (external site) vests control of an embryo to the surviving partner. This means a woman may be able to use an embryo that had been created before the death of the sperm provider.

This can create issues where the relationship had broken down or if the partner who died had explicitly advised that they did not want an embryos used in the event of their death.

Gametes (sperm or eggs)

In Western Australia, there are laws relating to the posthumous collection of human tissue, which includes sperm or eggs, but the posthumous use of sperm or eggs is currently prohibited.

Fertility providers are prohibited from using sperm or eggs in an artificial fertilisation procedure after the death of the provider.

So, while it may be possible for the surviving partner to consent to the posthumous collection of sperm or eggs in some circumstances, they cannot be used in Western Australia.

Where to get help

Last reviewed: 31-05-2022

Reproductive Technology Unit

Link to HealthyWA Facebook page