A 30-year-old Japanese woman, suffering from a rare form of infertility, is the first in the world to give birth through a new, cutting-edge treatment called IVA, or in vitro activation. According to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 27 other women have tried the procedure, and four of them were able to produce eggs and one of them is currently pregnant.
The women who participated in the study have an infertility condition called primary ovarian insufficiency, or POI which means their ovaries have prematurely shut down and so they cannot produce eggs anymore. This condition affects 1% of women who are of the reproductive age and for those who want to have children, their only option is egg donation or adoption. The study’s senior author, Aaron Hsueh, said they were finding ways for the women to have their own babies from their own eggs. With their first success, they are aiming to eventually use the procedure to also help those who have become infertile either due to cancer treatments or because of middle age.
For the IVA procedure, the 30-year-old woman had her ovaries removed, cut into strips and then frozen. They were later on cut into cubes and treated with drugs to stimulate the growth of the follicles. The cubes were then transplanted under the surface of her fallopian tubes. She went on to carry her baby full-term and gave birth last December. Dr Kazuhiro Kawamura of the St Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki say both the woman and the baby are doing well.
The treatment is not without its critics, as some experts say drugs to treat fertility without any form of surgery is the best way to deal with the condition, while others say the results have to be viewed with caution as it is still “very much an experimental method,” according to Dr Amber Cooper of Washington University in St Louis. David Albertini of the University of Kansas Medical Center says just because they have had one success does not mean it is already a treatment and they would have to “stay tuned” for further developments.
[ via LA Times ]