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Freezing eggs to have babies later gets a boost

More and more women are delaying starting families so they can focus on their education, careers or meet Mr. Right. As a result, more and more women are trying to have children when they are older, when it is often much more difficult or even too late. That has led an increasing number of women to try freezing some of their eggs when they are younger to use when they are ready to take that step in the hopes of extending their fertility. But there have been a lot of questions about how well that works.

A new study, however, provides some reassuring evidence that frozen eggs can give a woman a decent chance of having a baby later in life. Ana Cobo of the Institut Universitair -- IVI Valencia in Valencia, Spain, presented the results of the study Wednesday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome.

The researchers studied 600 women who underwent IVF using embryos that were created in the laboratory using either eggs that were freshly obtained from their ovaries or eggs that had been preserved using a method known as vitrification, which involves flash-freezing after the water had been removed to avoid ice formation. Of those who used frozen eggs, 43.7 percent became pregnant, compared to 41.7 percent of those who used fresh eggs, the researchers reported.

That sounds pretty good. But other researchers urged caution, saying additional research is needed to determine how many women actually end up giving birth to a baby and to study the health of babies born using frozen eggs.

The researchers now plan to continue to follow the women to get a better fix on that.

Meantime, many experts say the best bet is still to try to have a baby the old-fashioned way earlier in life, if possible.

By Rob Stein  |  June 30, 2010; 4:00 AM ET
Categories:  Infant health , Motherhood , Pregnancy , Women's Health  
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But how many women are pushed from having babies the "old fashioned" way into IVF in the first place because of advanced maternal age? And, lest we forget, this procedure is not low-cost or non-invasive.

The goal here should be to help more women conceive naturally, not to encourage more women to do things which makes them require a procedure like in vitro.

Posted by: floof | June 30, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

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