Five children have been born conceived from previously isolated and frozen egg cells, Italian scientists announced today (Wednesday 30 June 2004) at the 20th annual conference of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology. The method bears great promise for patients who live in countries where embryo cryopreservation (freezing) is prohibited, like Italy, or who object to embryo freezing for personal reasons, said Dr. Paolo Levi Setti from the Istituto Clinico Humanitas in Milan.
But, said Dr. Levi Setti, this technique would not replace embryo freezing in the future, and much more research into the freezing protocol and other aspects of the procedure was needed. “More children need to be born after the procedure before we can conclude that it is safe”, he said. “To date almost all the research has come from Italy, and it would be good to see other countries becoming involved.”
Between November 1999 and December 2003 the team isolated 2900 egg cells in 286 patients undergoing IVF or ICSI and preserved them. 145 transfers were performed in 120 patients after the eggs were thawed and sperm injected into the cytoplasm of the cell. 16 clinical pregnancies (a pregnancy sac seen in the uterus on ultrasound) were obtained. At the time the data were analysed, 4 patients had delivered 5 normal children.
Emma Mason | alfa
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