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Go to work on an egg

Dr Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

15 October 2002

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[BioNews, London] The birth of the first baby conceived using a woman's own egg that had been frozen has been announced in the UK. Emily Perry, who is now three months old, was born from an egg that had been frozen and then thawed before fertilisation.

This is the first time that such a technique has been successful in the UK, although egg freezing in Singapore and Australia over a decade ago, but with very low success rates, resulting in the abandonment of the projects. It has always proved difficult to freeze and thaw a human egg, due to its high water content and the subsequent formation of ice crystals which cause damage to it. The procedure has been used more recently and more successfully in Italy, following the development of a new freezing and thawing protocol by Australian and Italian scientists.

Helen Perry, the baby's 36-year-old mother, has blocked fallopian tubes, so she and her husband, Lee, decided to use IVF to have a baby. But the drugs that were used to induce egg production caused Mrs Perry's ovaries to overreact. While her body recovered from this, Ms Perry had her eggs frozen, using a new kind of 'antifreeze' that the clinic had developed. The option of freezing embryos was not considered as the couple are Jehovah's witnesses and did not want to 'waste' any embryos.

Dr Gillian Lockwood of Midland Fertility Services, Birmingham, where the treatment was given, said that as well as being used to delay children because of cancer or other illnesses, egg freezing would 'work just as well for the Bridget Jones generation who want to freeze their eggs to keep their reproductive options open'.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 15 October 2002   Date Updated: 12 September 2004
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