First baby born from commercial frozen donor egg bank
and World Science staff
Wendy and Jared Kennedy can hardly take their eyes off their new daughter, Avery Lee, born in the early morning hours of Dec. 31.
The 8 pound, 2 ounce baby girl is apparently the first baby born after being conceived with a frozen donor egg from a commercial egg bank, scientists say.
Wendy, a 41-year-old nurse, and Jared couldn’t conceive on their own. Lab tests revealed that they would need to use a donor egg, according to doctors. The couple learned of a new technology in which women’s eggs can be frozen and stored in much the same way as donor sperm, which has been available for infertile couples for decades.
The couple turned to a company that billed itself as the world’s first commercial donor egg bank, Cryo Eggs International, with offices in Lexington, Ky. and in Phoenix, Ariz. James Akin of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine is its medical director.
The technology to freeze women’s eggs allows women to select a familial “match,” or someone with similar characteristics, from donor eggs in a bank. According to Akin, the eggs can be shipped anywhere to be thawed, fertilized and transferred as an embryo to the woman who wishes to experience the pregnancy and birth.
Wendy and Jared chose a donor with a similar ancestral background—German—and who resembles Wendy. They also were able to plan when to conceive, something researchers said. They might not have been able to do that with unfrozen eggs, in which case the donor would have had to travel to the same facility as Wendy and the women’s menstrual cycles coordinated.
“She’s a little miracle,” Wendy said a little more than 24 hours after their daughter’s birth at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center. “I kept looking at her all night telling myself, ‘She’s really ours.’”
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