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Frozen eggs before chemo lead to baby

Wednesday February 19th, 2020

The first baby has been born to a woman using eggs frozen prior to treatment for breast cancer, it has been announced.

The baby boy, Jules, arrived on 6 July 2019. His mother, a 34-year-old French woman, was infertile due to chemotherapy five years earlier. She had seven immature eggs removed from her ovaries, and a technique called in vitro maturation was used so that the eggs developed further in the laboratory. They were then frozen, then thawed and fertilised five years later.

Her doctors outline the procedure today (19 February) in Annals of Oncology. They explain that the matured eggs were frozen rapidly using vitrification with liquid nitrogen. This reduces the chances of ice crystals forming and damaging the cell.

Professor Michael Grynberg of the Antoine Beclere University Hospital, near Paris, France, says: “I saw the 29-year-old patient following her diagnosis of cancer and provided fertility counselling. I offered her the option of egg freezing after in vitro maturation and also freezing ovarian tissue. She rejected the second option, which was considered too invasive a couple of days after cancer diagnosis.”

Five years later, she was diagnosed with infertility. The hormones needed to stimulate her ovaries to produce more eggs may have caused her breast cancer to recur, so the frozen eggs were used.

They were thawed and then fertilised using intracytoplasmic sperm injection, after which one embryo was transferred to her womb and gestated normally.

“We were delighted that the patient became pregnant without any difficulty and successfully delivered a healthy baby at term,” said Professor Grynberg. “This success represents a breakthrough in the field of fertility preservation.”

He added: “Fertility preservation should always be considered as part of the treatment for young cancer patients.”

Grynberg, M. et al. First birth achieved after fertility preservation using vitrification of in vitro matured oocytes in a woman with breast cancer. Annals of Oncology 18 February 2020; doi: 10.1016/j.annonc.2020.01.005

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annonc.2020.01.005

Tags: Cancer | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Europe | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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