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Child born with parent’s semen stored for 22 years

When diagnosed with Hodgkin‘s Lymphoma in the early 1980’s Mike Kuzminski, a rock musician from Canada had to be regularly taken off the road whilst touring with his band to receive chemo and radiotherapy. Infertility was a major side effect for about 20 per cent of Hodgkin‘s sufferers in the 1980’s, but Mike, then aged 18 had not even considered having children. Luckily his forward thinking oncologist at a Canadian fertility clinic advised him to go ahead and freeze his sperm. Fast forward 22 years and Mike Kuzminksi was now hoping to start a family of his own, however Mike learned he was infertile after having a series of tests. Oddly enough, it never crossed his mind to go back to the Calgary clinic where he'd stored his frozen sperm years ago. "I didn't even consider my sperm would be there. I'd forgotten about that life," he said.

On a Christmas visit home to Alberta in 2003, Kuzminski's sister reminded her brother of his frozen sperm -- giving her brother and partner a hope of conceiving a biological child. Kuzminski tracked down the name of the clinic and called almost immediately. After waiting on the phone for some minutes, Kuzminski got the happy news from a staff member at the clinic, who replied; “We totally have you here -- and you owe us $2,000 for storage."

On the 1st of November 2007, baby Jacek Kuzminski was born in Langley, Canada, in what has been deemed a Canadian record for fertility treatment. The sperm they used had been on ice for more than 22 years, originally frozen by a Planer controlled rate freezer, and kept at liquid nitrogen temperatures in a cryogenic storage vessel. Planer machines are still in use at the clinic today.

Physicians across the country are trying to agree on guidelines for what should be done with abandoned frozen sperm. Kuzminski said he was both surprised and thankful that his frozen sperm had not been destroyed despite the fact that he had not paid nor contacted the Calgary clinic where it was stored for more than 22 years.

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New venture for therapy with cord blood and adult stem cells

PRESS RELEASE: Professor Colin McGuckin, Chair in regenerative medicine at Newcastle University and the Fondation Jérôme Lejeune in Paris have announced the formation of a new venture 'Novussanguis ' to promote responsible research on cord blood and adult stem cells. Some 200 international participants were invited to the launch of the consortium at the Medical School of University Paris Descartes, in France. Novussanguis will try to help those patients who could benefit from treatment with adult and cord blood stem cells. Adult stem cells can be harvested from several human tissues such as brain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, liver, cornea, retina, pancreatic cells and umbilical cord blood. With over 130 million births per year world-wide, cord blood is a particularly important source of readily available stem cells because of ease of access and supply.

Stem cells play a key role in research for treatment of several diseases. Today, over 80 diseases can be treatable with cord blood stem cells. Most of these are linked to the blood system (e.g. leukaemia) or the immune system (‘babies in a bubble’), but are also applicable to diseases affecting the bone marrow, nervous system, heart or metabolism such as juvenile diabetes.

The processing of cord blood and cells involves using high specification machines and technology in the laboratory. Prof. McGuckin’s laboratory at Newcastle, England are Planer users and many other clinical and research laboratories around the world use the special freezers from the London based company. Controlled rate freezers are used to pre-cool valuable samples before storage in ultra cold liquid nitrogen - so that when thawed the viability of the cells is optimum. The Novussanguis consortium is a platform of researchers - initially consisting of fifteen laboratories.

The first projects to be financed by Novussanguis will carry out research on nervous tissues damaged by strokes; pancreatic tissues that can produce insulin in vitro for diabetes research; cardiac tissues damaged by a myocardial infarction; epithelial tissues to improve treatment of wound healing; cornea, nervous tissues, bone, cartilage, tendons and blood vessels for orthopaedic applications; epigenetic profiling of cord blood stem cells to improve tissue engineering; expansion and clinical cryo-preservation of cord blood stem cells. By using this shared network of knowledge Novussanguis hopes to accelerate advancements in stem cell research. The information gained can then filter down through its network and be used to maximum effect wherever possible. Ends

More Information: Prof. McGuckin and Dr Nico Forraz The English team is internationally recognised as a leader in this field, with numerous publications on cord blood and adult stem cells. In 2005, Prof. McGuckin and Dr Nico Forraz demonstrated, for the first time, the existence of pluripotent stem cells in cord blood, called Cord blood-derived Embryonic-like stem cells (CBE’s) since they bear characteristics similar to embryonic stem cells. Contact: Novussanguis press office + 44 (0) 7917 863 958 or +33 (0) 1 44497345 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Planer plc Planer specialises in the control of temperature and other parameters in the hospital, laboratory, research, veterinary, manufacturing and university fields. Established in the market for some forty years it has moved from pioneering research in cryogenics to become a leading supplier of controlled-rate freezing and monitoring equipment for bio preservation – in embryology, stem cells, animal husbandry, pharmacology and medicine. The company has produced in excess of 10,000 temperature related equipments, and estimates that currently 5,000 controlled rate freezers are in regular use around the world. There are users of Planer software and temperature equipment in most developed countries of the world. The company, based near London's Heathrow airport, has a team of qualified technical managers, application engineers and product specialists to design its state of the art electronic, electromechanical and software products and distributes these world-wide backed up by a network of over fifty sales and service distributors around the world. Contact Jamie Bennet +44 (0) 19327 55000 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The Foundation Jérôme Lejeune, Paris Recognised by the French government in 1996, the Foundation Jérôme Lejeune finances every year over 100 scientific and medical research projects around the world. The Foundation is the principle financier for Down’s syndrome in France. The Foundation Jérôme Lejeune is interested in developing many innovative therapies and, having financed for a number of years adult stem cell research, the Foundation wishes to explore this route in more depth. In September 2006 the Foundation co-organised an international congress on adult stem cells in Rome gathering over 300 researchers from all over the world. Contact Sylvie du Cray-patouillet or Delphine Eriau Tel: +33 (0)1 45 03 89 89 – Fax : +33 (0)1 45 03 89 90 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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New Study Shows Frozen Embryos Better Than Fresh For IVF

Author(s):Alison Cranage, BioNews

A new study shows that it is better to use frozen, rather than fresh embryos in IVF treatment. The research was reported by Dr Anja Pinborg at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Barcelona last week. The study has found that babies born from a frozen embryo that was thawed and implanted had a higher birth weight, were less likely to be twins or triplets and had no increased risk of abnormalities, when compared to babies born from fresh embryos. The study, led by Dr Pinborg of Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Denmark, looked at all 1,278 children born from frozen embryos in Denmark between 1995 and 2006, and compared them to 17,857 children born from fresh embryos.

The data shows that on average, babies born from frozen embryos were 200g heavier. In addition multiple birth rates were lower, 14.2 per cent, compared to 27.3 per cent when fresh embryos were used. Dr Pinborg said 'Most encouragingly, we found no increased risk of congenital malformations in the frozen embryos replacement (FER) group; the rate in this group was 7.1 per cent compared to 8.8 per cent where fresh embryos had been used'.

There are several possible reasons why using frozen embryos rather than fresh results resulted in the differences observed. 'Only the very top quality embryos survive the freezing and thawing process' said Dr Pinborg, 'And you only get pregnancies in patients with lots of good embryos to freeze'. In addition, the ovarian stimulation that patients have to go through to collect eggs could negatively influence a subsequent pregnancy, but this does not affect women using frozen embryos. Freezing embryos allows a couple to have several IVF cycles from the same egg collection, reducing the number of times a woman has to undergo ovarian stimulation. Frozen embryos are implanted into the womb 3-5 days after ovulation, exactly the same way fresh embryos are. As doctors are keen to avoid multiple pregnancies, it is common in IVF for one embryo fertilised in the laboratory to be implanted, and the rest frozen. This new study helps to confirm the safety of using frozen embryos. Reported by BioNews Issue 466:14/7/08 22:46 02/10/2008

New Scientist 8/7/2008 'Frozen embryos do better in IVF' - New Scientist:

The Daily Telegraph 9/7/2008 'Frozen embryos better than fresh, study shows' - The Daily Telegraph: - BBC News Online 8/7/2008 'Frozen embryos 'better for IVF' - BBC News Online:

News Medical-net 8/7/2008 'Children born from thawed frozen embryos have higher birth weight than those born where fresh embryos used' - News Medical-net:

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Commentary in BioNews On Line: 3 Nov 2008, by Dr Peter Hollands, University of Westminster

Bio-PreservationRISK AND REWARD: METHODS AND MORALS IN BIO-PRESERVATION: The recent correspondence on egg vitrification in BioNews (1,2), prompts me to wonder if the pioneering research spirit that started the IVF industry sometimes gets a little carried away in the reality of patient care. At the start of the IVF industry the players were researchers and academics, and new techniques could be assessed quite easily because ‘anything' was better than 'nothing'. Assisted reproduction today is fully established technology with up to three million births over the last 30 years. It has become a real industry and is quite rightly subject to quality regulations and licensing law. Nevertheless, quality control should not, I feel, be interpreted as it sometimes is: as being a boring 'chore', a static tick box system acting only as a shield against comebacks from management, regulators or patients. It should be a process that lets in proven best practice, whilst raising safety standards, for the best interests of the patient.

I would suggest that the clearest picture does not always get through to the patient or the doctor advising the patient, perhaps as a recent commentary piece discusses (2). To make the point generally: is a fraught patient able to understand, for example, the basis for comparing pregnancy success rates? Or whether international best practice is learned from and applied? Or whether the NHS has the actual wherewithal to provide IVF services sufficiently?

Single embryo transfer (SET) has emphasised the importance of freezing efficiency and the use of embryo freezing is increasing. In the US, the number of births following embryo freezing tripled between 1997 and 2006. Shouldn't we look at why some clinics get hugely different success rates to others? One lab in the US freezes approximately 55 per cent of patient's embryos (some more still). It gets day three cleavage embryos showing a 90 per cent survival on thaw cycles. The latest data from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) shows almost a 40 per cent live birth rate per frozen transfer with day three embryos. If I was a patient I would want to know about SET advantages and subsequent choices for freezing my embryos.

Furthermore, controlled rate freezing has thirty five years of practical results and some 350,000 births. By contrast, vitrification in IVF is an interesting new technology with a few dozen results and isolated reports of possible DNA damage. Controlled rate freezing has a capital cost, vitrification has a consumable cost, so they are probably equivalent from that point of view. Vitrification is the 'new kid' and, as such, is of technical interest, but is it in patients' interests? I am not at completely 'anti-vitrification' - like controlled rate freezing, it is probably good in parts and may eventually prove to be the optimal method, especially for egg freezing. What I am is pro-patient. Patient interests aren't always put first. For example, there is a corollary in the stem cell area, where funds follow the research interest and are channelled into long term projects (possibly of great value) whilst the under-funded National Blood Service attempts to collect and store (probably) more imminently useful cord blood units. In relation to my third question, a recent article in the Times newspaper (3) discusses the importance of SET and discloses that about a third of NHS trusts do not offer frozen back-up and 85 per cent do not provide the 'three full cycles' recommended by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in 2004. No wonder that Dr Brison of the University of Manchester is reported to be endorsing SET whilst wondering about the reaction it will get because of clinic 'league tables'. Public and media interest in the morality surrounding the treatment of embryos - for stem technology or IVF work - is high. The same type of concerned interest shown by the public in the debate (for example discarding embryos) should be carried through into private and public practice. I hate the thought of advocating more red tape, all that is needed is to apply the existing rules across the board properly. What I think is needed from the industry is perhaps a way of regaining some of that pioneering spirit. Not so much the gung-ho part - rather, more of that earlier transparency. I would like to rekindle the cooperative early spirit helping to improve techniques amongst all by comparing and sharing information in good practice and then actually implementing it - for the good of all.

References: 1) 'Freeze and Share: An evolution of egg-sharing', BioNews, 22 September 2008, 2) Egg sharing and cryopreservation: for whose benefit?, BioNews, 6 October 2008

3) IVF success set to drop under single-embryo policy, The Times, 18 October 2008 - 'Dr Peter Hollands, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science, University of Westminster' View other featured Commentaries at

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Frozen IVF embryos produce healthier children, researchers claim: Times on Line

Author(s):Mark Henderson, Science Editor, in San Francisco

IVF produces healthier children when embryos are frozen and thawed before being transferred to the womb, according to new research. Babies born from frozen IVF embryos are less likely to be born prematurely or underweight than are those conceived during fresh treatment cycles, three independent teams of scientists have found. One of the studies also recorded lower rates of stillbirth and early death among frozen-embryo babies. The results, from researchers based in the United States, Australia and Finland, suggest that far from being riskier than conventional IVF, as is generally thought, cycles using frozen embryos may actually be safer. The research is particularly significant because separate teams from three countries have reached the same conclusion, each using large samples including thousands of IVF cycles.

A fourth team, from Denmark, also reported similar findings earlier in the year. Scientists said the work would be important because women are increasingly encouraged to use just one fresh embryo during IVF, to guard against damaging twin and triplet births, and to freeze any that are left over for later use. It will dispel doubts about whether this policy trades the risks of multiple births for hazards associated with frozen embryos.

Allan Pacey, secretary of the British Fertility Society, said: “This all works to the advantage of single embryo transfer. It suggests it might be better from the point of view of a healthy child to go for frozen embryos, which is an integral part of the strategy. People shouldn’t be scared of frozen embryos.” The studies, presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in San Francisco, do not explain why babies born from frozen embryos seem to do better, but there are several hypotheses.When fresh embryos are used in treatment, women may still be under the influence of powerful hormonal drugs used to stimulate their ovaries into producing extra eggs, or the anaesthetics used during egg collection.

Either of these may interfere with the endometrial lining of the womb, and thus with the formation of the placenta. Another possibility is that as some frozen embryos generally fail to survive thawing, this effectively “weeds out” those that are of poor quality. A third possibility is that women who produce lots of good quality embryos are more likely to have frozen cycles, and also have a lower risk of complicated pregnancies. “These findings are really quite interesting,” Dr Pacey said. “It kind of defies logic to a certain extent. It seems to be an issue with the formation of the placenta, but how it has an effect isn’t known. “This may be a bit of biology that has escaped most people. The assumption has always been that if the endometrium [the womb lining] is thick, it’s functional. In an IVF cycle, the endometrium looks normal on ultrasound, but perhaps there is something subtle going on.”

Despite their apparent health benefits, however, frozen IVF cycles are unlikely to supplant fresh ones as the routine option because they have a lower success rate. In Britain, 24.4 per cent of fresh cycles lead to a live birth, compared to 17.4 per cent of frozen cycles. There were 33,916 fresh cycles performed in 2006, and 7,911 frozen cycles.

(Image - Lennart Nilsson/Reuters)

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The world’s first’ ice baby’ grows up

It is twenty five years ago that the first baby from a frozen embryo came into the world. Zoe Leyland was born at the Queen Victoria Medical Centre in Melbourne, Australia on 28 March 1984, helped on her way by Dr Alan Trounson and Dr Carl Wood who made medical history. The decision to try 'test tube' fertilization and embryo freezing was taken by them and Zoe's parents – mother a 33 year old New Zealander and father a 38 year old British born Australian resident. Her mother had hormonal stimulation and produced eleven eggs which were frozen using a then new type of controlled rate freezer made by London company Planer plc. One of those frozen embryos became Zoe - who weighed in at about 5 lbs or 2.5 kilos. Zoe and Professor Trounson set a bit of a trend and since then, of the three million or so babies born via assisted reproduction IVF techniques, some 20% or about 600,000 have been created from frozen embryos.

The world's first 'fresh’ test tube baby was Louise Brown born in England in 1978, but Zoe came from an embryo that had been frozen for a time before being thawed and implanted. To allow cells to survive liquid nitrogen temperatures (-196°C) the embryos had to be treated with cryo-protectant, then frozen down in the Planer freezer with extreme precision using different temperature ramps, before they could be stored in liquid nitrogen. This controlled rate freezing procedure was a breakthrough in 1984 but is now common and most IVF laboratories worldwide have rate freezers. Freezing an embryo allows physicians to replace one embryo at a time and store others or spares for later use; it may also help in allowing a patient to 'recover hormonal equilibrium' by delaying implantation to allow the IVF drugs to clear her body. Controlled rate frozen embryos appear to develop into equally healthy children compared with ‘fresh’ IVF ones. Recent studies from Denmark, Australia, the USA and Finland have indicated they may be even healthier. The freezing of embryos is becoming particularly important because of the interest in SET - selective embryo transfer - to help avoid multiple births and so a successful embryo freezing programme is essential for an IVF clinic.

The controlled rate freezing technique, originally suggested over thirty years ago by British Scientist Professor David Pegg, enabled Planer plc to pioneer this equipment. Many thousands of units are in constant use all over the world in IVF labs, hospitals and research institutions. Controlled rate freezing is needed before storing many cells in liquid nitrogen – in areas such as cord blood banking, bone marrow transplants, botanical matter, semen, oocytes, botanical seeds, skin, ovarian tissue, heart valves and blood vessels.

Professor Alan Trounson and inset the Planer freezerProfessor Alan Trounson, currently president of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, became a world authority on assisted reproduction and went on to pioneer work in the stem cell field. Alan Trounson is now based in San Francisco and has had a highly distinguished career in assisted reproduction, stem cell and gynaecological research in academic institutions after Monash University in Melbourne.

Recently Louise Brown, the first IVF baby, had her own child naturally – Zoe has no such plans yet and having finished her degree is working in Melbourne.

Background Information: Alan Trounson is President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco, California. Prior to joining CIRM in January 2008, Trounson was Professor of Stem Cell Sciences and Director of the Monash Immunology and Stem Cell Laboratories at Monash University, where he retains the title of Emeritus Professor. Dr. Trounson founded the National Biotechnology Centre of Excellence – ‘Australian Stem Cell Centre’. He held various positions at Monash University beginning in 1977 and was appointed Director of the Centre for Early Human Development in 1985. He was awarded a Personal Chair in Obstetrics and Gynaecology/Paediatrics in 1991, and in 2003 was awarded a Personal Chair as Professor of Stem Cell Sciences. A Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Trounson was awarded an honorary doctorate by the faculty of medicine at the University of Brussels. He has been a pioneer of human in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and associated reproductive technologies; the diagnosis of inherited genetic disease in pre-implantation embryos; the discovery and production of human embryonic stem cells and of their ability to be directed into neurones, prostate tissue and respiratory tissue.

Planer plc specialises in the measurement and control of physical parameters related to cell preservation and safety in hospitals, laboratories and universities. Based near London’s Heathrow airport the company has sold over ten thousand state of the art electronic, electromechanical and software products world-wide, via its network of fifty sales and service distributors, since 1973. Having pioneered the development and use of products for controlled rate freezing, the company received the Queen's Award for Technology and awards from the British DTI for Innovation and Good Practice in Micro-electronics. Customers who depend on the viability of their stored samples use Planer products, which include programmable freezers, incubators, monitoring equipment and software for the viable storage and preservation of medical and biological specimens - cells, cord blood, bone marrow, embryos, botanical matter, semen, oocytes, botanical seeds, skin, ovarian tissue, heart valves, blood vessels and more. Mr. Jamie Bennet, Sales Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Mr. Paul Lakra, Managing Director This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Mr. Geoffrey Planer, Chair This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 44 1 (0) 9327 55000

Studies on Health of cryopreserved embryos using controlled rate freezers (i)Dr Pinborg et al(Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet, Denmark) looked at all 1,278 children born from frozen embryos in Denmark between 1995 and 2006 showing that it appeared better to use frozen rather than fresh embryos in IVF treatment (reported ESHRE 2008). (ii) H. W. G. Baker et al: of Melbourne Hospital, Australia, Fertility and Sterility September 2008 (Vol. 90, Page S29) (iii) S. Kansal Kalra et al University of Pennsylvania, Abstract at S.205 (iv) S. Pelkonen et al Oulu& Helsinki University Hospitals, Finland In conclusion singletons born after IVF, ICSI or FET treatments seem to be more often premature and have more often low birth weight than singletons after spontaneous pregnancy. FET-singletons have better outcome compared with singletons born after fresh embryo transfer when examining birth weight or gestational age at birth. Abstract at S.65 (v)

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Worse health for IVF twins but no harm in embryo freezing

Author(s):Reported by Benjamin Jones, Progress Educational Trust, London

Two studies have provided an insight into the health implications of using assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs). The first finds that twins conceived by ART are more likely to be born preterm, be of low birthweight and to be 60 per cent more likely to be admitted into neonatal intensive care. The second finds that embryos frozen shortly after cell division had begun are no more likely to lead to premature or underweight birth than fresh embryos.

The first study was conducted by a research group at the University of Western Australia. Its findings match those for singletons with the paper referencing numerous studies that document earlier birth, lower birthweight and a higher risk of physical malformation in ART pregnancies when compared with spontaneously conceived pregnancies.

The finding suggests that the increased problems surrounding ART twin birth are not solely a result of difficulties inherent to multiple births but are also associated with assisted reproduction. The finding provides further support to the argument that only single embryos should be implanted in IVF or ICSI procedures. It does not, however, demonstrate whether it is the technique itself or the reproductive abnormalities of the recipients that are the cause.

A spokesperson for the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), commenting on the new research, told the BBC that 'clinicians have a duty of care to ensure that patients fully understand what IVF treatment involves and what the risks are, for both themselves and their babies', adding: 'This study is another piece of the jigsaw that women and their doctors need to consider before treatment'.

The second study involved a meta-analysis of 21 studies comparing ART with embryos that had been cryo-preserved and those that had not. The conclusion drawn from the pooled data was that there is no significant detrimental effect of the freezing of embryos on health outcomes.

Dr Allan Pacey, secretary of the British Fertility Society, commenting on the two studies, said that 'it is reassuring news about the embryo freezing'. However, he added that 'the issue of IVF twins is concerning, which is why we are trying to move towards single embryo transfer in as many women as possible to give these children the best start in life'.

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ICSI or IVF: Babies born from frozen embryos do just as well

Author(s):Queenie Neri, The Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility, Weill Medical College of Cornell University , New York

A recent study on babies born after freeze-thawing embryos found that births from frozen progressed just as well whether created by ICSI or standard IVF. Researchersat Cornell University examined around two thousand births of which some 1200 were from ICSI and frozen. Analysis found reassuring evidence that babies born from frozen embryos (all from Planer machines) and fertilised via ICSI do just as well as those born from frozen embryos fertilised via standard IVF treatment.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands:Analysis of the longest running ICSI programme in the United States has found reassuring evidence that babies born from frozen embryos fertilised via ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) do just as well as those born from frozen embryos fertilised via standard IVF treatment.

The researchers also compared babies born as a result of cycles in which the women had additional hormone medication with babies born as a result of unmedicated, natural cycles, and, although they found a slightly higher rate of malformations in babies born from medicated cycles, the difference was small – 2.2% versus 0.4%. Ms Queenie Neri, a research associate at Cornell University (New York, USA) and a member of the team headed by Professor Gianpiero Palermo who pioneered ICSI in 1992, told the 25th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Amsterdam today (Monday) that she and her colleagues had looked at all births from frozen embryos, conceived via ICSI or IVF, between 1993 and 2007. Ms Neri identified 720 IVF and 1231 ICSI frozen embryo transfers. The survival rate of the frozen embryos was 74% after IVF and 77.2% after ICSI. The clinical pregnancy rate was 42.8% after IVF and 39.4% after ICSI. These resulted in 84.1% IVF and 89.7% ICSI deliveries. There were 27.8% multiple IVF pregnancies and 21.1% multiple ICSI pregnancies. Outcomes at the time of birth for Apgar scores, gestational ages, birth weights and congenital malformations were similar for both IVF and ICSI singleton babies.

When she grouped the babies according to whether they came from medicated or unmedicated cycles, she found that the clinical pregnancy rate was 42.1% and 39.4% respectively; delivery rates were 86.7% (with 28.7% multiple births) and 87.5% (19.2% multiple births) respectively. Gestational ages and birth weights were similar between the two groups, but the malformation rate was 2.2% from the medicated cycles and 0.4% from the natural cycles. Ms Neri said: “Freezing embryos as part of fertility treatment has become a fundamental part of assisted reproduction technology. We found no differences in the ability of embryo generated by IVF or ICSI to implant, even after undergoing the stress of cryopreservation. We were unable to confirm a significant benefit of the unmedicated cycle on the neonatal outcome of the cryopreserved embryos; the difference in malformation rates was small.

“The original premise of the study was to identify a difference in neonatal outcome while in the presence or absence of infertility medication, with the assumption that the unmedicated cycles would generate better offspring outcomes. Interestingly, we did not see any clear difference in neonatal outcomes between the medicated and unmedicated groups. From our study, the combination of exposure to cryopreservation and medications or both did not significantly impair offspring outcome.”

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