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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Egg freezing offered by UK clinics

3rd September 2007

Two of Britain’s leading fertility clinics are to offer egg-freezing services to women who want to delay having children.

Using a new technique developed in Japan called vitrification, the process involves removing water from the eggs and freezing them in liquid nitrogen.

The two clinics have pointed to the success rates of the new technique as justification for offering the service to women on a commercial basis, although critics say there have been too few studies to ensure a big success rate.

In the past it was believed that it was too risky to allow women to freeze eggs, as they could have become too damaged to use. So far, freezing of eggs has been limited mainly to patients with cancer whose eggs may have been damaged by chemotherapy.

Professor Gedis Grudzinskas, medical director of one of the clinics, the Bridge Fertility Centre, said that the contraceptive pill had given women more choice about when they started their families.

“Egg freezing now gives women the chance to delay having children until the time that is right for them,? he added.

The two clinics say the thawed eggs are in almost as good condition as before they were frozen and that the breakthrough means it is no longer unethical to prescribe this treatment to healthy women who wish to postpone motherhood for social reasons.

But Dr Allan Pacey from the British Fertility Society said he thought more research was needed and raised concerns that women may think they could preserve motherhood.


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