1st IVF Birth From Immature Frozen Egg
Test Tube Baby's Birth May Hold Hope for Women With PCOS, Cancer
July 3, 2007 -- The first test tube baby has been born from a frozen egg
that matured in a lab before undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).
The baby girl is reportedly doing well, according to Hananel Holzer, MD, and
colleagues, who treated her mother at McGill University in Montreal.
The baby's birth from a frozen egg that matured in a lab may hold promise
for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and women with cancer who want
to preserve their fertility, Holzer's team notes.
The doctors announced the baby girl's birth yesterday at the European
Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology's annual meeting in Lyon,
The baby girl's mother has PCOS, which can cause female infertility. She was
one of 20 women with PCOS who tried the frozen egg IVF technique, which is
still in its early stages.
IVF Success With Frozen Egg
The new frozen egg IVF technique involved several steps.
First, the woman got a single hormone shot. Doctors collected several
immature eggs from her ovaries 36 hours later.
Next, the doctors matured the eggs in a lab and then froze the eggs. When
the woman was at the right point in her menstrual cycle, the doctors unfroze
the eggs, fertilized the eggs with the father's sperm, and implanted the
fertilized eggs into the woman's womb.
IVF typically involves a lengthier hormone treatment to mature a woman's
eggs while still in her ovaries. The new IVF technique involves gathering
immature eggs. That means a shorter preparation time and less exposure to
hormones, which might be a plus for women with hormone-sensitive cancers.
"We have demonstrated for the first time that it is possible to do
this," says Holzer, noting that before now, doctors weren't sure an
immature egg would make it through the process of being matured and frozen in a
lab, thawed, fertilized, and implanted.
"So far, we have achieved four successful pregnancies, one of which has
resulted in a live birth. The other three pregnancies are ongoing," says
The patients treated by Holzer's team were about 30 years old, on average.
All of them had PCOS.
The technique hasn't been tried in women with cancer and is still
experimental. Holzer says that the doctors don't want to give "any false
hopes" to patients.
PCOS affects about 10% of women of childbearing age, according to the
National Women's Health Information Center, which is part of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services.
Women with PCOS have high levels of sex hormones such as testosterone that
are more abundant in men than women. They also tend to have missed or irregular
periods and small cysts (fluid-filled sacs) in their ovaries.
PCOS patients may also have hirsutism (excess facial or body hair). Many
women with PCOS are overweight or obese, often with extra weight around the
waist, notes the National Women's Health Information Center.
- Is your family struggling with infertility? Find support from others like
you on WebMD’s Infertility
Treatment Support Group message board.