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Nature

IVF just as likely to result in live birth when frozen embryos are used

Jan 11, 2018

Women who use frozen embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF) have the same chance of ongoing pregnancy and giving birth as those who have fresh embryos implanted, say researchers.
In a study of almost 800 women with infertility unrelated to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), ongoing pregnancy and live birth rates were the same between women who underwent IVF using frozen embryos and those who did so using fresh embryos. Frozen embryo techniques are growing in popularity in fertility clinics worldwide. This is one of the reasons why our research is important for fertility clinicians and researchers, and of course couples who are hoping to have a child," says lead author of the study Lan Vuong (University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City). Research has previously indicated that women who are infertile as a result of PCOS are significantly more likely to have a live birth if they have frozen embryos implanted, but this study suggests this is not the case for women with infertility unrelated to PCOS.
For the study, women were given one cycle of IVF where either frozen or fresh embryos were implanted. In the fresh embryo group, ongoing pregnancy occurred in 35% of the women and in the frozen embryo group, ongoing pregnancy occurred in 36%. The corresponding figures for live birth rates were 32% and 34%. Mol warns that although many clinics are moving away from using fresh embryo transfers for IVF, the freezing process does make IVF more expensive, despite not resulting in higher rates of live births: "Couples concerned about such unnecessary costs of freezing all embryos do not need to go down that path, and will still have the same live birth success rate.” Vuong added that the results of the current study are specific to a common freezing method called Cryotech vitrification, so they may not apply to all current embryo freezing techniques: “Further research will be needed to compare pregnancy outcomes and live birth rates from other embryo freezing techniques.

Nature

Baby is born in China four years after parents died in car crash

April 12, 2018

The son of a Chinese couple who died more than four years ago has been born to a surrogate mother, according to Chinese media. Shen Jie and Liu Xi had been married for two years when they decided to try in vitro fertilization. Five days before they were scheduled to transplant one of the fertilized embryos into Liu, the couple died in a car accident in March 2013 in the Chinese coastal province of Jiangsu.
For the next three years, the parents of Shen and Liu fought for the rights to four frozen embryos left by their late children in a complicated and unprecedented legal case in China, according to the Beijing News. After several court battles, both sets of parents finally won custody of the embryos, and in January of 2017, with the help of an underground surrogacy agency, they drove to Laos to find a mother. Surrogacy is illegal in China. In December last year, Shen and Liu’s baby, a boy, was born in a hospital in Guangzhou. Liu’s mother gave him the name Tiantian, or “sweet”. Last month, the family celebrated Tiantian’s first 100 days by holding a small party. Liu’s mother, Hu Xinxian, told Beijing News: “Tiantian’s eyes look like my daughter’s but overall, he looks more like his father.” After the birth there have still been legal complications. The new grandparents had to carry out DNA tests to prove their relationship to Tiantian and keep custody. The grandparents have not decided how to tell Tiantian about his background. Shen Xinan, Tiantian’s paternal grandfather, told Beijing News that until Tiantian is older they will tell him his parents are overseas. “This boy is destined to be sad on his arrival into the world. Other babies have their fathers and mothers, but he doesn’t. We will definitely tell him in the future. How can we not?” Shen said.

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