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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Progeny .... postponing child birth ......... and freezing of eggs !!

There are vast differences in the way people live in Western Countries and here.  Their attitude, their way of life, their thinking all differ.  One should not be viewing things with a fixed mindset or a differential yardstick  ! 

There is so called ‘middle-class mentality’ and ‘generation gap’.... those of us over 40s tend to worry for many things – sometimes it is the ‘fear of the unknown’ or what the future holds for us !  In our school  days, when life was simple, we thought of the future – of scoring high marks, getting good employment – then of marriage – settling down ! in family life – begetting children – bringing them up right from their days of cradling – putting them in schools, their studies, their future, their education, their getting employment –  marriage proposals for them – further more of the grand children – cycle of worries !!!

In biology, offspring is the product of reproduction of a new organism produced by one or more parents.  Having a progeny was most desirous.  For the unfortunate some, there were aided pregnancy with advanced medicine technology.    The children, the offspring contains numerous genes which have coding for specific tasks and properties.  An important aspect of the formation of the parent offspring is the chromosome, which is a structure of DNA which contains many genes.  One of the artificial method that gained ground a couple of decades earlier, is  ‘In vitro fertilization or fertilisation’ (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilised by sperm outside the body: in vitro ("in glass"). 

 The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman's  ovulatory  process, removing ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a liquid in a laboratory. The fertilised egg (zygote) is cultured for 2–6 days in a growth medium and is then implanted in the same or another woman's uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.

Though one would ask – why this is making news at all – Western media is agog with Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy -  and this time, it's a boy. According to International Business Times, Kim K reportedly spent $230,000 on in-vitro fertilization and is very concerned with her pregnancy. 
                         Miles away, is the World's first stem cell baby.  Zain Rajani was born three weeks ago in Canada after his parents opted for a new type of IVF marketed under the name Augment. The procedure is supposed to enhance the quality of a woman's eggs by injecting them with mitochondria taken from her ovarian stem cells. Some media reports say this is the breakthrough that will usher in the next big advance in IVF,  though some experts are sceptical.  ~ in IVF – the eggs can be kept frozen and used after a specified period too ... postponing to the choicest time ! – and that is being practised in Europe and Western Countries, as more women postpone their pregnancy  to their midage.

MailOnline reports that number  of women freezing their eggs soars by 400% in one year as careers are prioritised over motherhood.  The age at which women are seeking fertility treatment is also falling.  The report states that prioritising a career over motherhood has resulted in a huge rise in the number of women having their eggs frozen, new figures reveal. Demand for the procedure has soared by 400 per cent in the last year, experts said.

It comes as the number of enquiries at private fertility clinics in the UK doubled over the same time period. Furthermore, the new research reveals the age of women seeking fertility treatment is also falling, with nearly half of people aged between 25 and 34 - up more than 10 per cent on the previous year.  Enquiries into fertility testing are up 242 per cent. Meanwhile those wanting intrauterine insemination - a procedure which separates fast-moving sperm from the more sluggish or non-moving, to be placed in the womb close to the time of ovulation - has risen 188 per cent..... and  embryo donation has increased 183 per cent since early 2014. 

IVF enquiries in the UK are up 161 per cent, but increasing numbers of women are going abroad for the treatment, with Greece, Cyprus and the Czech Republic proving popular destinations.  According to research by healthcare comparison website, egg freezing is the most popular fertility treatment in the UK, with demand up 407 per cent in the past 12 months.  The treatment is offered to those women undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, as well as to those who object to storing embryos for religious or moral reasons.

Career women who spend thousands of pounds freezing their eggs only have an eight per cent chance of having a baby, figures revealed last year.  Between 1991 and 2012, just 21 babies were born as a result of 253 fertility cycles which used frozen eggs. Private clinics typically charge £5,000 to £6,000 to remove the eggs, then £250 a year to store them and up to £6,000 for them to be re-implanted years later.

Fertility expert Lord Winston stressed that women should only freeze their eggs when they have no other options.  He added: ‘There are innumerable clinics that will freeze your eggs for a handsome fee but the justification for this is highly dubious. ‘By the age of 40 your chances of IVF working are slim and you are just as likely to get pregnant naturally.  Professor Susan Bewley, who specialises in complex obstetrics at King’s College London, said: ‘This is a profit-driven industry, which is fuelled by marketing and positive stories. ‘But like most assisted reproductive technology, the reality is way behind the hype.  'Fertility clinics can be very in your face but there are certain facts about biology that can’t change.’

The procedure involves giving patients high doses of hormones, which stimulate their ovaries to produce large numbers of eggs. These are then removed by a fine needle and stored in liquid nitrogen for a maximum of ten years. Eggs can then be stored for up to 10 years in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees centigrade. When a woman decides the time is right for a baby, the egg is thawed slowly which involves a carefully controlled drop in temperature before being warmed up again.

Spain has developed an international reputation as an IVF destination, and UK patients are following this trend with enquiries into egg freezing at Spanish clinics up 867 per cent in the last 12 months.   IVF treatment in the Czech Republic, which has seen the highest volume of fertility enquiries to overseas clinics from the UK in the past year, costs £735 per session on average, less than a third of the cost of the same treatment at home.

Going by the figures, of,  come after experts warned last year that women freezing their eggs only have an eight per cent chance of having a baby ~and theoretically, there could be child birth whence the biological parent are not alive.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

15th May 2015.

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