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Baby born through new egg freezing fertility treatment

A woman who was left infertile by cancer treatment has given birth to a baby after her immature eggs were collected, matured in a lab and frozen for use five years later. The Guardian reports that fertility specialists at Antoine Béclère University hospital in Clamart near Paris said the healthy boy, named Jules, was the first baby to be born through the new procedure.

The unnamed woman was offered fertility counselling when she was about to embark on a course of chemotherapy for breast cancer at the age of 29. The drugs used in many cancer treatments are known to put fertility at risk.

Doctors ruled out the standard IVF procedure of using hormones to stimulate the woman’s ovaries to produce eggs, concerned it might exacerbate her cancer. Another option was to remove and freeze some of the patient’s ovarian tissue and re-implant it when she had recovered, but the woman considered the operation too invasive.

Instead, the woman opted for retrieval of early-stage eggs from her ovaries. These were matured in the lab for one or two days and then vitrified – a process that freezes the cells rapidly in nitrogen to reduce the chances of ice crystals forming and rupturing them.

Michaël Grynberg, head of reproductive medicine and fertility preservation at the hospital, is quoted in the report as saying that while the procedure was not particularly efficient, it allowed some women to have babies when they had exhausted other options.

[link url="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/feb/19/first-baby-born-through-new-egg-freezing-fertility-technique-ivf"]Full report in The Guardian[/link]

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