your valuable opinion ...
1 Replies
hoping4another - April 12

Hi Dr. Smith, what's your take on this?

Egg injection boosts fertility - New mitochondria may pep up ageing eggs, without creating 'three-parent' babies
By Helen Pearson - October 20, 2004

Injecting a woman's eggs with fresh supplies of power-generating mitochondria from the egg of another woman is known to boost the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF). But there's a serious ethical hitch: any resulting embryos contain genetic material from three different people. Now doctors from Taiwan report a way round the problem. Taking mitochondria from a woman's own cells and injecting them into her eggs seems to work just as well, they told a meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Philadelphia. The team carried out a first trial of the technique on women who had already failed to conceive with IVF. The researchers isolated cumulus cells,...



Dr Smith - April 12

The original paper, "Mitochondria transfer from self-granular cells to improve embryos' quality" was published in February last year ('04). Unfortunately, the paper was published in Chinese (with an English summary), so it was impossible to carefully evaluate the authors methods and the study was limited to only 18 patients. The authors presented their findings at last year's ASRM meeting, but the author's capacity to speak English was very limited, so that didn't help clarify matters much either. Furthermore, isolation of mitochondria from granulosa cells involves a technique called sucrose density gradient ultracetrifugation and requires a research-grade centrifuge (worth about $150,000US). The equipment and facilities required to perform this kind of procedure are probably cost prohibitive for most IVF programs. Although the technique looks promising to treat women with defects of the egg cytoplasm (i.e. dark and grainy or "bull's eye appearance) it will not be effective in treating chromosomal abnormalities. In other words, you may be able to "rejuvinate" the cytoplasm of an geneticaly abnormal egg from an older woman by introducing "fresh" mitochondria at the time of ICSI, but the resulting embryo is still anueploid and will not develop to a term pregnancy.

Bottom line: interesting from an academic point of view, but not very practical in the clinical setting.



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