Career women who want to delay starting a family while they concentrate on their jobs are being offered the chance to freeze their eggs for future fertilisation at a Midland clinic.
In the past, the law only allowed surplus embryos from IVF treatment to be frozen but the clinic in Aldridge has become the first outside London to be granted a licence to freeze eggs themselves.
The new licence, issued by the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority, allows Midland Fertility Services, to collect a woman's eggs and then freeze and store them indefinitely.
The eggs can then be thawed at any time and fertilised using a test-tube treatment called intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection where a single sperm is injected into each egg. The treatment is aimed particularly at women who need to undergo medical treatment that may leave them infertile.
'That said, the clinic is willing to offer the service to women who may want to delay having a family for social reasons.'
Mrs Helen Hutt, spokeswoman for Midland Fertility Services, said the clinic was giving women an option they never had in the past.
She said: 'The way this could be looked at is as a sort of insurance for women who do not want to have children until later in life.
'If a woman is 25 and she decides that she doesn't want to juggle her career with raising a family then she can have her eggs removed and frozen until when she feels it is right for her to start a family.
'Women can have successful pregnancies and healthy children in the late 30s and 40s and even into their 50s but chances are reduced with age.
'I understand that there is a moral issue about having this treatment for social reasons but all we are doing is giving women the best possible chance to have healthy children.
'Admittedly, this will not be for everyone but we have had inquiries in the past and there is definitely a market out there. …