On July 25, 1978, Louise Brown, the first baby to have been conceived in a test tube, was born at Oldham General Hospital in Britain.
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Background: On July 25, 1978, Louise Brown, the first baby to have been conceived in a test tube, was born at Oldham General Hospital in Britain. Now twenty-one months after her birth scientists are planning to go step further by freezing a human embryo and trans fearing it to a woman a month later.
SYNOPSIS: Since the breakthrough with Louise Brown, several more test tube babies have been born in Britain and the technique is now being practised in other countries. The United States is going ahead with the first ever commercial test-tube baby clinic at the Eastern Virginia Medical School. But for every test-tube success there are many more infertile women who are using hormones in the hope of being able to produce eggs for fertilisation in a laboratory.
Although three quarters of the women treated with hormones can do this, the body rejects the laboratory fertilised eggs, because of a clash with the normal hormone cycle during pregnancy. So doctors are now considering ways of storing eggs or embryos for one or two months until the woman's 28-day hormone cycle has returned to normal.
It is thought that by freezing the fertilised egg in liquid nitrogen at minus 196 degrees Celsius and then thawing it before replacing it in the womb the success rate will be much higher.
The technique known as cyrobirth has been used among farm animals for many years with a success rate of between fifty and sixty percent. The embryos of mice have been frozen for seven years, more than three times their average life-span, and then successfully replaced in the womb. If cyrobirth is successful in humans it will mean new hope for millions of infertile women, It will also be possible to have frozen eggs or embryos stored against the possibility of infertility in the future.