Women's Health

Egg Cryopreservation: An Update on an Emerging Reproductive Technology

Egg cryopreservation or freezing is a technique that was first demonstrated to be a success in the mid-1980s with the first report of a live birth from frozen and thawed human eggs. This technique, however, was abandoned as a routine clinical option after initial concerns that egg cryopreservation led to an increase in chromosomal abnormalities[1] and as the transfer of cryopreserved embryos became more commonplace. Interest in this technique has been recently renewed as a means of preserving the eggs of women about to undergo chemotherapy and for patients who object to embryo cryopreservation on religious or moral grounds. In particular, this procedure is being investigated as an alternative to embryo cryopreservation by countries that do not permit the freezing of embryos, such as Italy and Germany, in addition to fertility centers in the U.S., which recognize both a need and the financial incentive for offering this technique. It has been calculated that 936 children worldwide have been born from cryopreserved eggs as of April 2009.[2]

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