COUPLES in Ireland unable to have babies naturally have been given fresh hope.
This follows medics in Dublin reporting the first birth here through a pioneering new assisted reproduction technique that increases the chances of expectant mothers giving birth.
The HARI (Human Assisted Reproduction Ireland) unit at the Rotunda Hospital report the first delivery of a healthy child using a new assistive reproduction technique called Vitrification.
According to consultant gynaecologist and lead clinician at Rotunda's HARI, Dr Edgar Mocanu, there is much cause to celebrate the birth of the baby through Vitrification.
He said: "It shows that Vitrification works in our hands, that a healthy child is born and in general the technique makes the survival of frozen embryos more likely thus resulting in more pregnancies."
The new technique offers particular hope for couples where cancer has been diagnosed for the female requiring her eggs to be frozen before undergoing chemotherapy.
Dr Mocanu said Vitrification "should offer a better future chance to conceive after life-saving cancer treatment".
In a case reported in the Irish medical Journal, a couple, each aged 32, were referred to the HARI at the Rotunda.The couple had twice gone abroad for treatment that resulted in no viable pregnancy on each occasion. The report also noted that the man in the case had a history of testicular cancer that resulted in the removal of one of his testicles.
The Vitrification method involves freezing embryos.
Dr Mocanu said: "Up to date, the so-called 'slow freeze' technique was used when embryos were slowly cooled to -196C and then stored for future use.
"The survival of embryos after thaw was only 75pc. The new technique of Vitrification, involved the fast or snap freeze of embryos, eliminating the formation of ice crystals and thus facilitating a much higher embryo survival rate of 95pc."