New egg freezing technique
Progress Educational Trust
20 August 2003
ViaCell, a biotechnology company based in Boston, US, has announced that it is developing a procedure to enable women to freeze their eggs for later use. The procedure is ready to begin clinical trials and ViaCell says it would like to be able to offer the service within 18 months. The company has already contracted with Boston IVF fertility centre to begin trials with patients there using eggs from volunteers, the number of which have already exceeded expectations. Other clinics will be added to the trial at a later date.
The technique involves injecting a sugar called trehalose into the eggs before they are frozen. This helps to prevent crystals forming in the eggs (which have a high water content), as they freeze. Marc Beer, chief executive officer of ViaCell, believes the technique could be used to store eggs for 15 years or more.
Commenting on the new procedure, Beer said that it is the 'most robust' egg freezing technique trialled to date. He believes that it will be of use for women undergoing cancer or other treatment that could affect their fertility, women who wish to delay having children and women who donate their eggs for use by infertile couples.
© 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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