China's first IVF baby to be conceived using a frozen human egg was born at the end of April this year. Newspapers in the country have heralded the birth as the 'arrival of a technology that was introduced abroad only three years ago'. The first UK birth following the use of a previously frozen human egg was reported in March 2001, after the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) lifted its ban on the use of frozen eggs in fertility treatments in January 2000. Another was reported in October 2002.
The Chinese baby, weighing just under nine pounds, was born in a hospital connected to Beijing University to a 38-year old woman. The egg, having been kept in frozen storage, was thawed, and fertilised with sperm in vitro before being transferred to her womb last July.
According to Chinese newspapers, the technology interests Chinese women who wish to postpone becoming mothers until they have established their careers. But Li Xiaohong, the doctor who performed the procedure, said that 'germ cell freezing and storage is mature enough in China, but it's only for trial use now'. He added: 'Wider clinical use has to wait until relevant laws are made, because after all, pregnancy and birth are big issues and have to be protected by law'.