Tawam celebrates first baby born from new method
Abu Dhabi, March 18, 2012
UAE's Tawam Hospital, in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine, has announced the birth of a healthy baby boy conceived with vitrified-thawed oocytes (eggs) that are rapidly frozen and later thawed for insemination.
The infant, delivered at full-term, is the first baby born at Tawam since vitrification was adopted as the hospital’s preferred assistive reproductive procedure in March 2011.
Dr. Fatheya Sharif, consultant in reproductive medicine and head of Tawam Hospital’s Fertility Unit, said: “The birth of the first baby born from thawed-vitrified eggs at Tawam has huge implications for women in the region concerned about preserving their fertility.
“In the future we hope to implement oocytes freezing as an option for young women with cancer who run the risk of having no viable oocytes following aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which can often leave patients infertile,” Dr Sharif said.
The vitrification process differs to the traditional approach to preserving human eggs because of the length of time it takes to freeze the oocytes. Before vitrification embryologists used a controlled-cooling system to freeze oocytes (slow freezing) which requires 2-3 hours, and the longer freeze time commonly results in the formation of ice crystals within oocyte cells, which can significantly reduce survival rates of the eggs after warming to just 50 per cent.
Vitrification uses high concentrations of cryoprotectants and an extremely high cooling rate (-20,000- 25,000 ºC per minute) that solidify without the formation of ice crystal by direct immersion into liquid nitrogen in order for the oocytes to be transitioned from 37ºC to -196ºC in less than one second and can be stored for future use.
Recent studies have reported that vitrification method found to be effective and gentler to the oocytes with 95 per cent survival rate after warming and the fertilization rate after insemination significantly higher in vitrification technique compared with the slow freezing technique, and the pregnancy rates using the vitrification technique also significantly higher than the slow freezing technique.
Dr Sharif continued: “At the Tawam Hospital Fertility Unit, our policy is to assess and adopt only the most successful strategies and techniques in fertility medicine to provide international standard results. Latest figures show that the unit has achieved a 38 per cent pregnancy rate and we are pleased to announce the first baby born after frozen thawed oocytes, which bodes well for a successful and promising 2012”.
Established in May 1990, Tawam Hospital’s Fertility Unit is a state-of-the-art fertility program, bringing the latest advances in reproductive medicine to married couples resident in the UAE and Middle East. Tawam Hospital is part of the Seha Health System and is owned and operated by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha). – TradeArabia News Service