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IVA a new beginning

Jane Saxton

21 October 2013

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In Vitro Activation (IVA), whereby scientists take an ovary or a piece of ovarian tissue and treat it with drugs to stimulate the ovaries, the ‘recharged tissue’ is then implanted back into the ovaries.

In the small study of 27 volunteers, which was published by researchers at Stanford University in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month, five women were able to produce viable eggs. One is pregnant, one has given birth to a healthy baby (see inset) and two women are waiting for an embryo transfer.

The technique offers hope to women who suffer from premature ovarian failure (early menopause) without having to use donor eggs. This condition affects approximately 100,000 women in the UK

While there are only small numbers who have achieved success using this technique, doctors are optimistic that this stimulation of follicles that failed to develop properly will help women who previously had to rely on egg donors to get pregnant. It may also be a solution for those who have egg loss due to chemotherapy.

The successful patient, a 30 year-old Japanese woman, is the first in the world to give birth through IVA. The study’s senior author, Aaron Hsueh, said they were finding ways for the women to have their own babies from their own eggs. With their first success, they are aiming to eventually use the procedure to also help those who have become infertile either due to cancer treatments or because of middle age.

The patient carried her baby full-term and gave birth last December. Dr Kazuhiro Kawamura of the St Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki say both the woman and the baby are doing well.

The treatment is not without its critics, as some experts say drugs to treat fertility without any form of surgery is the best way to deal with the condition, while others say the results have to be viewed with caution as it is still “very much an experimental method,” according to Dr Amber Cooper of Washington University in St Louis. David Albertini of the University of Kansas Medical Center says just because they have had one success does not mean it is already a treatment and they would have to “stay tuned” for further developments.


The Telegraph: 6.10.13


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Sep 30. [Epub ahead of print] Hippo signaling disruption and Akt stimulation of ovarian follicles for infertility treatment. Kawamura K, Cheng Y, Suzuki N, Deguchi M, Sato Y, Takae S, Ho CH, Kawamura N, Tamura M, Hashimoto S, Sugishita Y, Morimoto Y, Hosoi Y, Yoshioka N, Ishizuka B, Hsueh AJ.


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Date Added: 21 October 2013   Date Updated: 21 October 2013
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