• Kyodo

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A women’s clinic in the city of Furukawa, Miyagi Prefecture, successfully completed a procedure whereby a woman gave birth after in vitro fertilization using a temporarily frozen egg, sources said Tuesday.

While roughly 30 cases of pregnancies and births involving eggs that had been frozen have been reported overseas, the Miyagi case is believed to be Japan’s first successful procedure, experts said.

According to the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, there are no ethical problems stemming from the procedure, which was undertaken at Ladies’ Clinic Kyono.

Clinic Director Koichi Kyono said the woman, a resident of the Tohoku region in her thirties, was diagnosed by another medical facility as having obstructed fallopian tubes. She then decided to undergo in vitro treatment at the clinic.

Nine eggs were collected from her ovaries in July, but as the clinic could not prepare her husband’s sperm in time, five of the eggs were frozen during a process that took about two hours.

The sperm became ready about three to four hours later, after which clinic doctors began letting the eggs thaw.

They then fertilized three of the eggs, which remained intact after the procedure, and two were returned to the woman’s uterus.

One was successfully implanted, and the woman gave birth to a girl in April, doctors said, adding that both mother and baby were doing well.

“The period of time the eggs can be preserved frozen is unlimited. By using eggs previously frozen, couples can have children even when the husband’s sperm is immature or a growth such as cancer is found in the woman’s ovaries,” Kyono told a news conference.

The clinic has preserved the frozen eggs of other women, and Kyono said that while securing a birth from frozen eggs is a difficult procedure, there have been no reports to date of adverse effects on the child.

“I believe that we have come to the stage where (the procedure) can be clinically applied,” he said.

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