This Year In Fertility

Time Magazine's December 7, 2009 issue looks at, "The Year in Health From A to Z," and attempts to explore those areas in which scientific research in all parts of the world has yielded new and important knowledge. The magazine cites 3 such medical research-related findings that will have a definite impact on those couples who suffer from the heartbreak of infertility.

Finnish Embryos

Time talks about the newest research on embryos and looks at trials performed by Finnish scientists. This Finland-based research team has studied embryos in both their fresh and frozen states. The researchers found that, "transferring a single fresh embryo to the womb, followed by transfers of individual thawed embryos in later fertility cycles," was found to be every bit as effective as implanting many embryos at once. The Finnish study was conducted with the help of two groups of women at a fertility clinic. In one group, 95% elected to have a double-embryo transfer, while 46% of the second group elected to have a single-embryo transfer. In both groups, it was found that 90% managed to deliver babies at some time during their first four cycles of treatment.

Ovary Self-Transplant

The Time Magazine article also discussed the latest on ovary transplants. In this case, the focus was on self-transplant. The article described a woman diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease at the age of 20. The woman had an ovary removed and frozen anticipating that her Hodgkin's treatment would damage her ovaries. Time reported that her ovary has now been implanted back into her womb. There is every hope that this woman will manage to conceive a child.

Creating Sperm

The third fertility-related research breakthrough described in the Time Magazine article treats the topic of sperm. A British research team is cited as having used human embryonic stem cells to produce what seem to be, "functioning sperm cells." Current laws in the UK don't permit researchers to experiment with these sperm cells to see if they are capable of fertilizing an egg to produce an embryo. Also, it is illegal for British experts to use their research to experiment on humans. Still, Time dared to mention some of the important implications of this work. The article expressed the hope that this British research might, "allow doctors to generate sperm from the cells of a male cancer patient who is infertile by chemotherapy, permitting him to father children."

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