Egg donation and "just in case" cryopreservation

The results of several studies answering why women become egg donors and their relation to the freezing of their own biological material were presented at the last conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology ESHRE.

Examining reasons of eggs donation, the researchers came to the conclusion that determining factors were the country of residence and age of the donor. Thus, "female donors after 30 years are guided mainly by altruistic motives, while more young ladies don’t hide their material interest in the procedure."

The second, equally important factor, was the donor’s country of residence: according to Professor of Bioethics Institute of Ghent (Belgium), Guido Pennings, "citizens of France, Belgium and Finland had a desire to help other women to experience the joy of motherhood. But citizens of countries of the former CIS took this procedure as an income. "

Once again about the legitimacy of gender selection in IVF

Once again the topic of gender selection during the IVF has been risen. After one of the Spanish clinics started collecting signatures for the lifting of the ban on gender selection, and the doctor in Belgium was arrested for “planning” sex of the baby, people began to discuss moral and ethical sides of the issue at once in several countries. Thus, at a medical conference on bioethics in London professor Stephen Wilkinson said that the University of Lancaster had studied moral and ethical aspects of the issue of prenatal sex selection while using assisted reproductive technologies (ART). According to him, there is no reason to expect harm to unborn children, or society in general, found if the methods of sex selection, that are available during the procedure of in vitro fertilization.

Let me remind you that it’s the pre-implantation diagnostic (PGD), that allows to examine the material obtained in the presence of the defective gene, and incidentally to determine the gender of the fetus and with the highest likelihood. So, if we consider the laws of different countries of the world, they can be divided into 3 groups. In the first (like Austria, Vietnam, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand), pre-implantation diagnostic is totally prohibited, even if there are serious medical reasons.

More affordable method of PGD has been tested

The first "test-tube" child who had passed a new, more accessible method of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) was born in the U.S.. The kid Connor was born on May 18 in Philadelphia. His parents, 36- years old Marybeth Scheidts and 41-years old David Levy hadn’t been able to conceive a child  neither by a natural way nor with the IVF for a long. After a lengthy observations Degena Wells of the University of Oxford (UK), Marybeth and her husband were included in the international program of clinical trials of the new technology- next-generation sequencing (NGS). A married couple was involved in this program because of suspicion that their embryos (obtained as a result of natural conception and the IVF treatment as well) have chromosomal abnormalities that do not allow them to implant in the uterus.

As a result of a standard IVF procedure thirteen embryos had been received, the cells of which were sent to Oxford for genetic screening. It was found that fears of scientists were not groundless: despite the fact that embryos looked quite normal, the right set of chromosomes had only three of them. It was found after sequencing (decryption) of the genome, which allowed to count the number of chromosomes in the embryo and choose the "right" one. Later, one of the healthy embryos was successfully implanted in the uterus of Sheydts, and nine months later a little Connor was born.

Can the ovarian reserve be restored?

An interesting discovery was made by scientists at the Harvard Medical School, who had denied widespread opinion that a woman's ovarian reserve is non-renewable. The researchers have found oogonia (progenitors of oocytes) first in the ovaries of mice and then of adult women. Modern technologies allowed to count the number of divisions, which the cell had passed through: it was sufficient to measure the length of oogonias’ telomeres (end sections of DNA). The length of telomeres clearly shows that the studied cells are the product of successive division of oogonia, which proves that the cells continue to divide in the ovary during the reproductive period of a woman.

It is necessary to mention once again about a very common misbelief. There is a common idea that a woman has only 350-400 eggs for the whole life, so after multifollicular ovarian stimulation, required for IVF, almost 5% of all ovarian reserve "is taken away". In fact, the amount of potential eggs is much more than 400. The reserve of follicles, from which an egg “grows up” later, starts to form at the girl’s organism while being in the womb, and amounts of germ cells in the beginning is about 6-7 million.

The crisis of male fertility

Here is the latest news from the world of male fertility: in a recent report of the Institute of Health and Social Problems of Korea the problem of male fertility was raised. According to the institute, the number of men diagnosed with infertility has increased from 22,166 in 2004 to 40,199 in 2011. In 2010 there was an increase of 27.7 percent compared with the previous year. Doctors associate the lowering of fertility with semen-conductivity of vessels. Professor Lee Sung Won (Lee Sung-won) from the Samsung Medical Center, said: "It seems that stress from over-time working and sedentary lifestyle are causing problems with reproductive organs of men." According to him, changes in fashion with a preference for tight-leg trousers could also be a possible cause.

Scientists are concerned that only few people are trying to solve this problem: in 2011 there were 191,205 men and women diagnosed with infertility, but only 86,433 of them sought treatment. The government partially subsidizes the treatment of infertile couples by IVF: more than 40,000 couples received subsidies in 2011. Professor Lee said: "Although there are limited ways to treat male infertility, in vitro fertilization can become the most effective. If couples can’t get a desirable child for a year, they should consult their physicians. "