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First baby is born after oocytes were matured in the lab and frozen

is possible to do this and, so far, we have achieved four successful pregnancies, one of which has resulted in a live birth. The other three pregnancies are ongoing. These results are preliminary and the pregnancy rate is probably associated with a learning curve; indeed three of the pregnancies were achieved in the last five patients.

Dr Holzer warned that the research was still in its early stages and that it had not yet been proven in cancer patients. It has the potential to become one of the main options for fertility preservation, especially for patients who cannot have ovarian stimulation and all patients who do not have enough time to undergo ovarian stimulation, he said. However, we have to remember that these are only preliminary results from a small number of patients who were not cancer patients themselves. As for all methods for fertility preservation, they should be looked at as preliminary and experimental. We need to inform the patients about the early stage of these treatments without giving any false hopes.

Women who have been diagnosed with cancer face the prospect that the treatment they receive for their disease might make them infertile by destroying their ovarian reserve of oocytes. At present, there is the still experimental option of having the ovarian tissue removed, frozen and then transplanted back at a later date; however, there is the theoretical risk that this could re-introduce metastatic cancer into the woman. For women who are infertile due to PCOS, the administration of hormones to stimulate their ovaries to produce eggs can have the dangerous side-effect of over-stimulating their ovaries, resulting in the potentially life-threatening ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Therefore, being able to obtain successful pregnancies after retrieving immature eggs from unstimulated ovaries is an important step forward for women in these situations.

The researchers selected 20 patients, with an average age
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
2-Jul-2007


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