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Infertility Breakthrough With First Birth from Lab-matured Egg

total of 296 eggs were collected from the patients, of which 290 were immature, ESHRE said in a press release.

They were then matured in the laboratory for 24-48 hours, and were frozen for several months and then thawed. Of these, 148 oocytes survived the thawing process and were fertilised by a technique called intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection.

Sixty-four embryos were then transferred to the women, who received multiple embryos in order to boost the chance of a successful pregnancy.

Holzer said his team had progressively improved the success rate, noting that three of the pregnancies had been achieved in the past five patients.

But he cautioned against giving rise to false hopes. The research is still in its preliminary stages and had not yet been proven in cancer patients, the biggest potential beneficiaries.

Women who face chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer may not have time to undergo ovarian stimulation so that their oocytes can be harvested and stored.

Their only other option for preserving their fertility is the still-experimental option of having ovarian tissue removed before they undergo cancer therapy.

The tissue is frozen and then transplanted back at a later date, although some experts worry that this may also reimplant cancer cells.

For women who are infertile with PCOS, taking hormones to stimulate egg production can lead to potentially fatal overstimulation of the ovaries.

Thus, obtaining immature eggs from unstimulated ovaries, and then coaxing them towards a pregnancy, is a major step forward for patients in this group.

Separately, ESHRE reported that scientists in Israel had been able to obtain and freeze eggs from the ovarian tissue of girls as young as five years old.

Childhood cancers usually result in cure rates of between 70 and 90 percent, but sometimes this comes at the cost of infli
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