The first test-tube baby created from an egg that matured in the laboratory and then frozen has been born in Canada, in a breakthrough offering hope to women with cancer and others unsuited to normal IVF treatment.
The baby is doing well and another three women are pregnant by the same method, researchers told a medical meeting in Lyon, France, on Monday.
Conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) involves using high doses of expensive hormone drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs.
But some women seeking to preserve their child-bearing capacity may not have enough time to undergo ovarian stimulation or may have a condition that makes it dangerous, such as hormone-sensitive breast cancer.
For these patients, ripening eggs in the lab — so-called in vitro maturation (IVM) — makes sense. Until now, however, scientists have never frozen, thawed, and then fertilized a lab-matured egg. This multi-step process increases significantly the flexibility of fertility treatment.
“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,” Hananel Holzer of the McGill Reproductive Center in Montreal said in a statement.
The research is still at an early stage and has not yet been proven in cancer patients, he told the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE).
But Holzer and other experts believe it has the potential to become one of the main options for fertility preservation.
This is good news for parents who want a baby, but not 5 or 6.
Some celebrities have spoken out about having ‘eggs’ frozen for future options. Sherri Sheppard, who frequently co-hosts ‘The View’ recently said that her eggs are frozen for future pregnancy.
Hopefully, this will offer a more concrete answer for couples who cannot conceive naturally.