In a first, fertility doctors in France have announced the birth of a baby to a cancer patient from an immature egg that was matured in the laboratory, then thawed and fertilised five years later. According to a study published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology, the baby boy was born to a 34-year-old French woman who was infertile because she had been treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer five years earlier.
The study further stated that the doctors removed seven immature eggs from the woman's ovaries before she started her cancer treatment and used in vitro maturation (IVM), a technique that enables them to further develop the eggs in the laboratory. The mature eggs were then frozen by means of vitrification, which freezes the eggs very rapidly in liquid nitrogen to reduce the chances of ice crystals forming and damaging the cell.
According to the study, there have been no successful pregnancies in cancer patients after eggs that have undergone IVM and vitrification. Professor Michael Grynberg, head of the Department of Reproductive Medicine and Fertility Preservation at the Antoine Beclere University Hospital, near Paris, France, also one of the lead author of the study said, "I saw the 29-year-old patient following her diagnosis of cancer and provided fertility counselling. I offered her the option of egg freezing after IVM and also freezing ovarian tissue. She rejected the second option, which was considered too invasive a couple of days after a cancer diagnosis."
Out of the seven eggs that were removed from the woman's ovaries, six eggs were then frozen for five years. One of these fertilised eggs was transferred into the woman's womb and she gave birth to a healthy boy named Jules on July 6, 2019.