Women could delay motherhood, even for decades, thanks to a new medical development which allows eggs to be frozen for years.
The new method of freezing eggs using liquid nitrogen could transform fertility treatments and benefit women who fear infertility due to disease. The discovery could also come in for criticism as it could allow women to give birth in their 50s.
The new technique, developed by Midland Fertility Services, allows eggs to be removed from the womb and cooled and preserved in less than a minute, compared to standard fertility treatment which takes hours.
The quick-cooling method is thought to prolong the life of eggs, meaning more can survive for use in fertility treatment.
Olivia Bate, aged three-and-a-half months, was the first baby born via the new method after her mother Karen Bateman had her eggs frozen in 2009 after being told she may never be able to conceive.
Ms Bateman had eight eggs frozen in liquid nitrogen in September 2009 , two of which were implanted into her womb five months later.
Just a fortnight later, scans confirmed Ms Bate was pregnant with her long-awaited first child.
Olivia's birth has made medical history. Her delighted mother said: 'When (Olivia) is old enough to understand, we will tell her how significant her birth has been.'
Midland Fertility Services director, Dr Gillian Lockwood, says the new method could prove as important to women as the contraceptive pill, as it gives them greater choice of when to become a mum.
'If they freeze their eggs at the age of 30, then those eggs will stay that age forever,' she said. 'So they can have a baby even at the age of 50 with no greater chance of miscarriage or Downs Syndrome than they had at 30.'
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