30 April 2011
Meena delivered a boy weighing 2.3 kg through a caesarean delivery early this month, the hospital said on Friday. "The mother and baby are doing well. It was a challenging technique and I am happy that I could help the couple," said hospital medical director Dr Chandralekha.
A year ago, Meenu (37) and Kanna (45) visited Dr Chandralekha’s hospital for infertility treatment. Medical records showed the couple had problems. While Meena had a premature ovarian failure, which reduced the function of her ovaries, Kanna had testicular dysgenesis, a congenital problem that led to infertility. "Previous fertility treatments had failed. The only option we had was to use frozen eggs and frozen sperms. Both had to come from donors," she said.
The process involves cooling the eggs to sub–zero temperatures using cryoprotectants (freezing media) and preserving them in liquid nitrogen jars at minus 196 degrees centigrade. When required, the eggs are thawed at room temperature using special thawing medium.
The procedure has been used with hesitation by several doctors, including experts abroad, as freezing and thawing could disturb the chromosomal structure in these cells and result in abnormalities in the embryos. But of late some doctors have shown a good success rate in this procedure. The hospital used the five eggs and sperms that were frozen for seven months. On July 24, 2010, doctors thawed and fused the eggs with similarly thawed sperms.
Two days later, the doctors transferred three good embryos into Meenu’s uterus. A fortnight later, her pregnancy was confirmed. Scans showed there was one baby with good foetal heart beat. Throughout the pregnancy, doctors monitored the foetal growth. Meenu was then wheeled in for a caesarean section early this month. "The baby is now 3.1 kg," the doctor said.
Bundle of Joy
Though it requires great expertise, the advantages with frozen eggs are many
- There are no legal issue concerning single gamete freezing. Just like sperms being frozen for a man, a woman can freeze her oocytes This would throw up opportunity for women to postpone childbirth, either for educational or career demands
- Those who undergo treatment for cancer may save their eggs before they go in for treatment, as such therapies may result in infertility
- It also helps in avoiding multiple pregnancies that occur in most IVF methods
- The egg bank facility would also make donor programmes a cheaper option when there will be no need for sychronizing the treatment cycle
- The sperm is stored in small vials or straws of holding between 0.4 and 1.0 ml and cryogenically preserved in liquid nitrogen tanks. Before freezing, sperm may be prepared so that it can be used for assisted reproduction