The UK's first IVF (in vitro fertilisation) baby conceived using a thawed, frozen egg was born recently, reported the Daily Mail last week. Dr Mohammed Taranissi, head of the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre in London, said that the baby was healthy but the mother wished to remain anonymous at present.
Only around 30 babies worldwide have been conceived using frozen eggs since the technique was introduced 15 years ago. It was developed as an attempt to preserve the fertility of women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer or those at risk of premature menopause. The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) lifted its ban on egg freezing last January, but Dr Taranissi's clinic is still only one of seven British centres licensed to carry out the procedure.
Dr Taranissi said that the baby's mother did not have any illness, although 90 per cent of his patients offered the technique were affected by cancer. He also said he did not agree with 'lifestyle babies', referring to media speculation that egg freezing would be mainly used by women wishing to delay starting a family while they pursued a career. 'It is a painful and traumatic process. It should not be trivialised' he said.
A spokesman for the HFEA warned that although egg freezing is now licensed for use in the UK, the technique still has quite a low success rate. He also told the BBC that he thought very few women would put themselves through 'uncertain and expensive' IVF treatment just because they wanted to ensure they had a baby after a career.