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Houston IVF Announces Fertility Breakthrough With First Live Births in Texas from Frozen Egg

HOUSTON, TX (May28, 2010)


Houston IVF recently announced the first live births of children conceived using oocyte cryopreservation, also known as egg freezing, in the state of Texas. The twin boy and girl were born May 28, according to Dr. Timothy Hickman, Medical Director at Houston IVF and reproductive endocrinologist at Women's Memorial Hermann Memorial City, the women's service of Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital. 

"The immediate breakthrough, the one we are most excited about, is for women diagnosed with cancer," Dr. Hickman said. "The ability to freeze their eggs will give patients preparing for cancer treatment the opportunity to conceive a child anytime following their cancer treatment. Previously, the eggs had to be fertilized with partner or donor sperm prior to freezing." The births also pave the way to successful pregnancies for women who want to delay childbearing due to their career or lifestyle situations. 

The children's parents, Christopher and Ivonne Pena, took part in one of Houston IVF's clinical studies last summer and are glad to know that their experience will help advance fertility treatment for women.

"We're thrilled to know that the same treatment that helped us conceive our babies will give hope to women who are fighting cancer but still wish to have children," Mrs. Pena said. 

While researchers have been very successful at freezing sperm and embryos for preservation of fertility, egg freezing has presented a much more difficult challenge, as previous attempted procedures damaged or destroyed the eggs upon thawing. The national success rate for live births from frozen eggs has only been about 2%, and a 2009 study showed only 936 babies had been born from frozen eggs worldwide to date.

In collaboration with doctors and embryologists at sister clinic Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, the staff at Houston IVF performed an initial clinical trial, freezing eggs for patients using a new laboratory method. The trial included studying the effects of freezing and thawing the eggs using this procedure, as well as determining their survival and fertilization rates. The trial resulted in a 100% survival rate for the thawed eggs and an 85% fertilization rate. Doctors at Houston IVF are also evaluating additional applications for the procedure.

Houston IVF also is conducting a study on Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS), a test for that is particularly important to patients over 40 who are prone to chromosomal errors in their eggs, as well as those patients with a history of recurrent pregnancy losses with an otherwise normal evaluation or who have had multiple failed IVF cycles.

Founded in 2001 by Dr. Timothy Hickman & Dr. William Schoolcraft, Houston IVF is one of the nation's leading fertility research centers, providing a broad range of fertility treatments from basic infertility care to the most advanced In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technology. Led by Dr. Hickman and Dr. Laurie McKenzie, Houston IVF achieves live birth rates significantly higher than the national average across all age groups. Houston IVF has locations at Memorial City and in the Texas Medical Center. For more information visit or call 713-465-1211. For more information on women's services at Memorial Hermann Memorial City visit call 713-222-CARE.