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In-vitro maturation of eggs

Hope above all for cancer patients: Egg maturation outside the body

The in vitro maturation of eggs (IVM) lends itself as treatment for patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome who are at risk for the hyperstimulation syndrome or cancer patients. Immature eggs in immature condition with or without short-term hormonal stimulation of the ovaries are punctured out of preantral follicles as with follicle puncture (IVF) and cultured in a special culture media until maturity (metaphase II). This is followed by the extracorporal insemination (IVF/ICSI) followed by embryo transfer.

In use for years but still no routine

It is also possible to isolate immature eggs from frozen ovarian tissue, so that they must then continue to ripen/mature in culture at a later time. This is important especially for cancer patients where the ovary has been removed or the gametes are destroyed by a systemic tumour therapy, chemo therapy, radiation. This procedure has been in use for years in clinical experimental application. Many children have already been born using IVM. There are, however, still methodological difficulties. Therefore, it is currently not anticipated that this procedure can be used routinely in the short term.