It's not the most romantic idea we've ever heard of, but it's certainly convenient. For the latest breakthrough to help women have children in later life has been revealed: powdered eggs. Just and sperm and water - and voila!
Scientists have found a way of freeze-drying eggs into a powder for long-term storage before being rehydrated and artificially inseminated under the new technique.
It means the eggs could be kept at room temperature almost indefinitely in sealed sachets. To revitalise the eggs for use in fertility treatment, they then just add water.
The technique should make it easier and cheaper for women who want to store their eggs so they can undergo IVF treatment later in life, or for women undergoing cancer treatment, which can leave them infertile.
Currently eggs are stored in liquid nitrogen at expensive facilities and can be left useless if allowed to defrost due to loss of power.
The freeze drying method has been developed by Dr Amir Arav, the founder of Israeli cryopreservation company Core Dynamics.
He said: "You can keep the powder at room temperature forever and just add water to bring it back to life."
The company has used the process to freeze-dry 30 cow eggs, according to New Scientist magazine, which revealed details of the technique. When the eggs were rehydrated, 23 of them were found to be still viable.
The next step for the company is to prove that rehydrated eggs can then be fertilised and grown into viable young. They then hope to try the method using human eggs.
Dr Arav said: "I believe the future of fertility preservation will be a simple 'on shelf' preservation."
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