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Breakthrough for infertile women
Freeze, thaw and fertilise babies

Lyon (France), July 2
The first baby to be created from an egg that matured in a laboratory, frozen, thawed and then fertilised, has been born in Canada, researchers told a medical conference here today.

The baby girl was born to a woman diagnosed with an advanced ovarian disease. Three other women in the 20-person trial group are pregnant by the same technique, researchers said.

Doctors collect and store eggs from women who face cancer treatment that could cause infertility.

The eggs are harvested after stimulating the ovaries with hormones and are fertilised in-vitro with their partner's sperm and then frozen. After the cancer therapy, the eggs are then thawed and implanted.

The Canadian team said the prototype technique had taken this fertility preservation a major step further. The eggs were recovered from unstimulated ovaries and in addition were fertilised after they had been frozen and then thawed, and not before.

“Until now, it was not known whether oocytes (human eggs) collected from unstimulated ovaries, matured in-vitro and then vitrified could survive thawing, be fertilised successfully and result in a viable pregnancy after embryo transfer,” said Hananel Holzer, who led the team from the McGill Reproductive Center in Montreal.

“We have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to do this and, so far, we have achieved four successful pregnancies, one of which has resulted in a live birth. The other three pregnancies are ongoing.” The breakthrough was announced at the Annual Conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (EHSRE), meeting in Lyon. — AFP

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