Mother donates eggs to daughter
In a medical first, a Canadian mother has frozen some of her eggs so
her seven-year-old daughter can give birth, should her genetic disorder
make her infertile as an adult, a physician said on Tuesday.
If Flavie Boivin should become infertile, her mother's eggs could still
make it possible for her to give birth – to a child who
would be not only her offspring, but also her half-sister or
First time ever
"It's the first time in the world" for a mother-daughter egg
donation, said Seang Lin Tan, professor and chairman of obstetrics and
gynaecology at McGill University, Montreal, and medical director of its
Tan, who treated Boivin, said McGill University Health Centre's
ethics committee gave its authorization for the extraction of her eggs,
which will be kept frozen for years to come.
He said the daughter was under no obligation to accept the eggs.
"It's up to the daughter and her future partner to decide whether to
use the eggs or not," he said. "She doesn't have to, and they may
decide to donate the eggs to another couple and then have somebody else
give eggs to them."
Tan said the egg-freezing procedure has been used for cancer
patients at risk of menopause when they undergo chemotherapy.
"So we freeze the eggs the eggs before the cancer treatment," he
said, adding that 80 patients have been treated so far.
Most eggs survive
"We know that this technique works," he told AFP. "We find that 85
percent of the eggs survive freezing and then there is a 40 percent
chance of a live birth."
Melanie Boivin, a 35-year-old lawyer from Montreal, is the mother of
three children, including Flavie, who was born with a genetic disorder
called Turner syndrome, which can lead to premature menopause and
infertility, Tan said.
Turner syndrome often leaves women incapable of producing eggs but
with healthy wombs and can give birth through donated eggs.
"I was touched by her case because, in her own words, 'a mother
should always do her best to help her children.' If her daughter had a
kidney problem and she had to give a kidney, she would have done it
In an interview with the BBC, Melanie Boivin she said she wanted to
do "everything in her power to help" her daughter, adding that she would
never force her to accept her eggs if she did not want to.
"I just want her to have the option," she added.
"My partner and I wondered a long time about this donation. Will it
be my kid or my daughter's?" she said in an April interview with La
"Finally, after a year of thinking about it, we decided that we
could go through with it."
Tan said the egg-freezing procedure has "reached a stage where we
can offer the same treatment to other women who may have children with
problems of infertility."
"With egg-freezing we can offer women who do not have yet have a
partner a chance of having children. For example, a lady in her early
30s can decide to freeze her eggs and have a child later with a partner
she loves," he added.
Tan presented a report on the Boivin case Monday at the annual
meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in
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