Will the next advancement after egg freezing be freeze-dried eggs you can store in your own home?
Israeli researchers with Core Dynamics, a biotechnology company focused on advanced cell and tissue preservation, are working on a technique to freeze-dry eggs into a powder so they can be kept at room temperature in sealed sachets almost indefinitely. When the woman is ready to have a baby, you just add water — and sperm.
The scientists "powderized" 30 cow eggs, 23 of which were successfully revived. They demonstrated the technique at a conference in Berlin, Germany, on cold-preservation techniques for eggs, sperm and embryos.
The technique involves vitrification of the eggs, the fast-freezing method that allows no time for ice crystals to form. This is the same process fertility clinics are currently using to freeze eggs. Then, the eggs are are placed in a low-pressure chamber under low temperature for 24 hours for full drying, with the result being freeze-dried eggs that could remain in a dry state at room temperature for many years, thus avoiding the expense of keeping them frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen.
Scientists are already using the technique on on red blood cells and on human mononuclear cells from umbilical cord blood. The next steps are to determine whether oocytes can be fertilized after freeze-drying, whether they can form normal embryos, and whether they can implant in the uterus and develop into healthy pregnancies and live births.
April 8, 2013
Posted by Leigh Ann Woodruff