Healthy baby conceived from 20-year-old embryo

October 11th, 2010 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 11 (IANS) A baby has been conceived in the US out of an embryo frozen 20 years ago - the longest time a fertilised egg has been stored before developing into a healthy baby.

This breakthrough could pave the way for thousands of women to have children in middle age.

The newborn’s 42-year-old mother, who lives in the US, had undergone 10 years of IVF but was unable to conceive. Last year, a frozen embryo, created by another couple, was implanted into her womb and in May she gave birth to a boy weighing more than three kilos, reports the Daily Mail.

The embryo was created with four others when the couple were having successful IVF treatment in 1990. When one was successfully implanted, they donated the other four for ‘adoption’ and these were frozen.

Two decades later, the four embryos were offered to the 42-year-old woman and her husband at the US clinic where they were undergoing fertility treatment.

Only two embryos survived the thawing process and they were planted in the woman’s womb. One survived, and the pregnancy went full term.

The woman’s doctor Sergio Oehninger, director of the Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine at the Eastern Virginia Medical School, said: “She has been going through treatment for a long time. She was a patient here in 2000. She was a persistent lady.”

Oehninger has carried out research showing that the length of time embryos are frozen does not hinder their ability to grow into healthy babies.

Some doctors believe frozen embryos could be stored for as long as 40 years.

Biologically this baby is a sibling of the child born to the couple who underwent IVF in 1990, even though there is a 20-year age gap.

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