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Author Topic: News Flash - Egg freezing - The Times  (Read 4530 times)
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The Times.

Women who want to postpone motherhood to establish a career or find the right partner have been given new hope by research that shows the safety of an advanced egg-freezing technique.

The most exhaustive study yet of children born after the freezing procedure found that they appeared to be healthy as those conceived normally or by IVF, paving the way for its widspred use.

The results are likely to embolden thoughsands of women intheir twenties and thirties who are considering whether to place eggs on ice to improve their chances of starting a family when they are older.

Specialists said that the research, into a method known as "Vitrification, promises to lift the main barrier to routine egg freezing. While dozens of British women have already done this to preservr their fertility, medical groups had advised against it outside clinical trials because it limited evidence of its saftey.

The study, led by RI-Cheng Chian, of McGill University, in Montreal, Canada, assassed the outcome of 200 children born from vitrified eggs. It found that the rate of birth defects was 2.5 per cent, which is comparable to natural pregnancies and IVF.

"The American Society for Reproduction Medicine says egg freezing for social reasons should happen only in clinical trials, because there is not enough information yet, but I think that is soon going to change".

Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland fertility Services which offer egg freezing in Britain, said: "This is the sort of evidence we have all been seeking. I think in time it will come to be seen as positiely perverse to refuse to allow women to have the chance to establish pregnancies with their own frozen eggs".

She said that frozen eggs stored when women were in their twenties or thirties might evenyually be shown to reduce the rate of birth abnormalities beyond that seen in the McGill study, which is published in the journal: Reproduction Bioedicine Online. Such defects become more of a risk when older women concieve with their own eggs.

Alan Pacey, secretary of the British Fertility Society, said that tha society did not have a firm policy on egg freezing for social reasons. "A single study is not enough, but if more data like this emerges we would be more relaxed about it," he said.

While it has long been possible to freeze sperm ane embryos for use in fertility treatment years later, it has taken much longer to achieve this routinely with eggs. The prospects of wider use have recently been enhanced by the development of vitrification, which involves flash-freezing eggs after special prepsration.

Up to 95% of vitrified eggs survive the thawing process compared with 50 - 60 per cent of thos preserved by the older slow freezing techniques. Pregnancy rates for vitrification can be as good as for IVF with fresh eggs.

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