La Jolla clinic devises new method of preserving human eggs

Unfertilized eggs are placed in a special solution and then frozen in liquid nitrogen at minus 321 degrees.
Unfertilized eggs are placed in a special solution and then frozen in liquid nitrogen at minus 321 degrees.
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Unfertilized eggs are placed in a special solution and then frozen in liquid nitrogen at minus 321 degrees.

A new method of preserving human eggs until the mother is ready to conceive proved successful with the birth of three babies this year, a La Jolla fertility clinic announced Aug. 16.

In the process called "vitrification" or "flash freezing," unfertilized eggs are placed in a special solution and then frozen in liquid nitrogen at minus 321 degrees, according to the Reproductive Partners-UC San Diego Regional Fertility Center. The eggs are then warmed when the mother is ready to conceive.

Eggs sometimes did not survive the warming process in previous methods.

"Two of our patients who underwent the freezing technique are now proud mothers of healthy, happy babies," Fertility Center Dr. Gabriel Garzo said.

"Their success gives others who might benefit from this technique tremendous hope."

According to the center, Jeanna House delivered twin boys in February, then moved to Texas to join her military husband. In April, Shannon Taylor of San Diego gave birth to an 8 pound, 5 ounce girl.

"She's a gift. My husband and I are ecstatic," Taylor said.

"Yesterday we were running out of options, and today we're a real family."

Preserving the eggs through flash freezing is an option for career women or those who might not have a partner yet, Garzo said. He also said cancer patients, who might lose their fertility from chemotherapy treatments, will benefit from the technique.

The privately owned fertility center specializes in advanced in-vitro fertilization services and works closely with UCSD.

--City News Service

   
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