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Couple's necessity was the mother of invention

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | 0 comments

In what is being billed as a world first, a Canadian couple has given birth to a little girl who was conceived through a two-step, test-tube method that could herald the next revolution in baby making.

Researchers at the McGill Reproductive Centre in Montreal say Noorfatima Khan, now a healthy 10-month-old, is the first baby in the world known to be born of an egg that had not only been frozen, but that had never ripened inside of a woman. The process allowed Kiran Wasi, the mother, to undergo in vitro fertilization without taking standard fertility drugs.

Scientists say the birth, which is to be announced at the World IVF Congress in September, is a triumph in the expanding international efforts to pioneer fertility treatments that rely on fewer drugs and will be safer, easier and cheaper for the women and couples who need them.

Standard IVF treatments require a woman to pump herself with powerful, pricey hormones to produce multiple mature eggs at the same time, instead of the one egg a month that ovaries normally release. Only mature eggs can be successfully fertilized with a man's sperm.

But as part of a continuing clinical trial, McGill researchers collected immature eggs from Ms. Wasi's ovaries, matured them in the lab, froze them for two months and in September of 2005, thawed and fertilized them in a lab dish with the sperm of her husband, Amir Khan.

McGill researchers in 1999 reported Canada's first birth with a lab-ripened egg, a technique known as IVM, or in vitro maturation. In 2005, they announced the country's first birth with a frozen egg. But they say that this is the first time anyone anywhere has achieved a live birth using both technologies together and the combination could have several significant applications.

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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