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Houston IVF News

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Twins born from frozen eggs still healthy

July 20, 2011

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- An Austin baby has become the second born from frozen human eggs. The first was a set of twins born to a Deer Park couple. Those twins have had their first birthday. Meanwhile, doctors are getting better at "banking" women's eggs.

Joseph and Alba Pena are one, and their birth a year ago was big news.

"We'll be somewhere and somebody will actually recognize them," said their mother, Ivonne Pena.

The Pena twins are the first babies born in Texas from frozen human eggs. Ivonne's eggs were frozen for three months, thawed and fertilized. The twins were born in perfect health and at a year later, they're still healthy.

"We just have our babies and that's what we wanted, and to see how much it means to other people, what we take for granted every day," Ivonne said.

New technology finally makes it possible to successfully freeze and thaw human eggs.

"We're running about 85 to 90 percent freeze thaw survival rate, which is just phenomenal," Dr. Timothy Hickman.

Dr.Hickman was the Penas' fertiilty doctor who froze her eggs. His big motovation is to help women with cancer.

"Most of the patients who come through are using frozen eggs because they're about to receive chemotherapy. They're just diagnosed with cancer and they want to freeze their eggs so they have a chance to have a child later on," he said.

At one facility, about 1,000 embryos are stored in tanks and they're frozen at about 300 degrees below zero. But in one tank, for the first time, there are eggs.

Some of the eggs belong to women worried about their biological clock.

"I have three daughters and I've told them if you're not married by 29, we're freezing your eggs," Dr. Hickman said jokingly.

The Penas hope women worried about their age or cancer will be encouraged by the story of Alba and Joseph, who are born from frozen human eggs. "Miracle babies for everybody who believes in the procedure," said their dad, Chris Pena.

Freezing eggs has great advantages over freezing embryos, including eliminating the ethical issues of what to do with leftover embryos.

(Copyright ©2011 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Source: ABC KTRK Channel 13 Houston Texas

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