April is National Infertility Awareness Month
Development of technology to effectively cryopreserve (freeze) human oocytes (eggs) began in the mid-1990’s, primarily for the purpose of preserving the fertility potential for cancer patients. (Radiation and certain chemotherapies can negatively impact the reproductive system.)
Dr. Zsolt Peter Nagy, Scientific Director at Reproductive Biology Associates in Atlanta was a pioneer in research and development of methods to preserve the fertilization and embryo development potential of frozen eggs. In 2007, Dr. Nagy and his scientific team achieved the most important egg freezing breakthrough based on scientific research initiated in 2004 to explore an alternative way of cryopreservation called “vitrification”.
Utilizing this new rapid-freezing technique with egg donors between the ages of 21 to 30, pregnancy rates equal to fresh donor cycles in traditional IVF centers around the world were achieved. Seventeen of the twenty recipients (85%) achieved live birth using vitrified donor eggs. These impressive results were reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility in 2008 (Nagy et al, FS, 2008).
In 2010, the MyEggBank North America network, of which RSC New England is a founding member, was established to expand patient access to successful vitrification and thawing protocols. MyEggBank at RSC New England is an assisted reproduction resource for women with infertility issues affecting egg quantity and/or quality who need IVF using donor eggs to achieve pregnancy. It is also a fertility preservation resource for cancer patients, and for women who choose to delay pregnancy.