An infertile woman has given birth after an experimental procedure in Japan, but researchers are cautioning couples who have been unsuccessful at having children not to get their hopes up – yet.
The Los Angeles Times noted that the woman
was one of 27 to undergo a procedure known as in vitro activation, or IVA. The unnamed mother gave birth to a healthy baby boy in December, and the development was first described Monday in an online study published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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The report said four other women produced eggs after the procedure, and one of them is pregnant.
The procedure was tried only in women with a specific type of infertility problem, said The Associated Press
. The 30-year-old mother who gave birth was diagnosed with primary ovarian insufficiency, also known as premature menopause, which results in the ovaries’ inability to produce eggs. Women with the condition who are trying to become pregnant typically use donor eggs.
In the experimental procedure that resulted in the December birth, doctors removed the woman’s ovaries and re-implanted tissue that was treated in a lab. The treatment is aimed at stimulating dormant follicles, a part of the ovary in which eggs mature. For women suffering from the condition, the follicles are either missing or failing to produce eggs.
According to the AP report, the women’s ovaries were removed, cut into strips, and frozen before being thawed and cut into tiny cubes – a process aimed at stimulating the follicles’ maturation. The cubes were further treated with drugs for stimulation, then transplanted just under the women’s fallopian tubes.
Dr. Mark Sauer of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York was quoted in the AP story as saying, “It shows a lot of promise (but) I don’t think it’s even close to being ready” for routine use. Dr. David Albertini of the University of Kansas Medical Center noted that one success story “does not mean we have a treatment.”
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