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Novel IVF technique gives hope to older women

Novel IVF technique gives hope to older women by rejuvenating the old oocytes according to recent preliminary data provided by scientists in the US.

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Replace the compromised mitochondria of an old oocyte to younger ones

British fertility scientists have applied to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for permission to use a novel treatment which they claim to boost pregnancy rates for women with poor egg quality who have experienced previous IVF failures.
What this technique does is to replace the compromised mitochondria of an old oocyte to younger ones isolated from cells so called egg precursor cells. These egg precursor cells are scientifically known as germline stem cells and are found in the ovary.

The concept underlying this novel IVF technique is that dysfunctional mitochondria (energy producing organelles), found in poor quality eggs, cannot support the development of a quality embryo so replacing them by fresh healthy ones will provide the egg with the necessary energy to complete the embryo development in success. The most exciting thing about it is that women will be injected to their own young mitochondria with their own mitochondrial DNA. That would be great news for older women who want to make their own genetic child instead of using donor eggs.

The technique has been developed by OvaScience, a US fertility lab, and their preliminary data provided from women with previous IVF failures and poor egg quality suggested that this technique has the potential to help women with challenging infertility histories.
However, as promising as this technique may sound no official data of this piece of research have been published so far, making other scientists quite skeptical about it. Some of them argue that there is no sufficient evidence of these precursor egg cells existence, much less of the treatment’s efficiency.

It yet remains to see whether the UK will be the first country to apply the treatment, conducting the necessary clinical trials for proving its efficiency. One thing is certain, that further investigation is necessary for deciding the method’s scientific robustness. ‘’It’s a potential paradigm shift. But we have to get to the point where it does work to make it a more cost-effective solution.” Professor Simon Fishel, of Care Fertility, who has asked the regulator for permission to try the treatment, commented.

What do you think, too good to be true?

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