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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 19 February, 2019

Clinic announces first Irish pregnancy from new fertility technique

The new method, called vitrification, involves the ultra-rapid freezing of embryos and oocytes (eggs).

Image: Katie Collins/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A DUBLIN FERTILITY clinic has announced the first Irish pregnancy from a new technique which it says will further improve the chances for couples with fertility challenges.

The HARI Clinic, the national fertility centre based at the Rotunda Hospital, reported the pregnancy last night and said it will be “heartening” news for couples who are trying to have children.

The pregnancy has been achieved through a technique known as vitrification, which involves the ultra-rapid freezing of embryos and oocytes (eggs).

“We only introduced it in HARI in February of this year as a leading edge technology in IVF treatment. We’re thrilled for our patients to get a result so quickly,” said Dr Edgar Mocanu, Consultant Fertility Specialist at the clinic.

Although freezing embryo has always been an integral part of IVF treatment, the new fast method has been shown to improve both embryo and egg survival rates by as much as 20 per cent.

Gerri Emerson, head of Research & Development at HARI, is also delighted that the very first embryo thawed from this method has resulted in a pregnancy.

Explaining the science, she said: “The embryos were frozen at the blastocyst stage which is Day 5, less than 2 months ago and after thawing just one, we now have a successful outcome.”

HARI, which is the only IMB-licenced egg-freezing clinic in Ireland, is also the National Oncology Cryopreservation Centre in Ireland. Although the fertility preservation programme for men has been running successfully since 1998, it is considerably more difficult for women to preserve their future fertility when they may have to undergo chemo or radiotherapy.

Historically, embryos have always survived better than eggs and HARI has been successfully freezing embryos for couples for several years. However, for women who may not yet have partners, the more successful egg freezing method of vitrification offers them a realistic hope of having a family after potentially damaging chemo or radiotherapy.

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