Dhaka, Jul 6 (bdnews24.com) – Three test tube babies were born on Friday at a private hospital in Dhaka from frozen embryos which doctors say 'rare' in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Assisted Conception Centre and Women Hospital Ltd brought smiles to two couples – one delivered twin baby boys after 12 years of their marriage and another couple a girl after six years of wait.
"All (babies) are in good health. They have no problem. Their weight is quite normal," Prof Feroza Begum, who was behind the third reported success in frozen embryo implantation in Bangladesh, told journalists.
Doctors expected that the babies weighing over 2.5kg at birth would soon go home.
"One can't explain the happiness of the couples … everyone wants child. They had been waiting since long for this day," Feroza, also a professor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said.
Those babies were born in Bangladesh a week after a newly-released figure showed about 5 million such babies have already been born worldwide, since the birth of Louise Brown, the world's first 'test tube baby' in 1978.
The first frozen embryo baby was born in Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital in Melbourne, Australia in 1984.
Doctors called the process IVF or in-vitro fertilisation, in which egg cells are fertilised with sperms outside woman's womb in an artificial environment.
It involves removing eggs from the woman's ovaries and mixing them with her partner's sperm in a laboratory.
The fertilised egg (zygote) is then transferred to the woman's uterus for a successful pregnancy.
Married 12 years ago, Prof Feroza said, the couple that delivered a twin decided to have a test tube baby four years back.
"But their attempt in 2008 turned a failure," she said, "After that they made another attempt which also failed."
"But the embryos were preserved. Now they got a baby from their preserved embryos," she said.
She said they preserved embryos below zero temperature (-196 degree centigrade) within liquid nitrogen. It can be preserved up to 10 years.
She said the babies were born on time, after 37 weeks of pregnancy.
A team of gynaecologists conducted the operation upon the two ladies from 9am to 12pm.
Prof Feroza said the couple had to spend around Tk 4 lakh for their two attempts.
"But the latest attempt cost around Tk 40,000 only as they had preserved embryos.
"It (surplus embryos) saved their money," she said.
Although there is no national figure about the number of infertile couples in Bangladesh, doctors say it is increasing. They cannot pinpoint the reason as there is no study on it.
Prof Feroza said in her Women Hospital alone, she had received around 5,000 infertile couples in the last three years.
Citing statistics she said neighbouring India's one in every 10 couples was infertile.
"All do not need the test tube method to have a baby. There are other methods as well," she said, "Only 10 percent of all infertility couples need test tube method."
But she warned that couples must understand the test tube method was not a guaranteed solution. "If they are in position to have children earlier in life, they should try."
"As one ages, men can become azospermia (absence of sperms in the ejaculation)," she said.
A new study has indicated that the chance of a pregnancy through IVF is around 30 percent higher when all embryos are frozen for later transfer than with fresh embryo transfers.
The study, however, could not confirm the reasons.
Prof Feroza said test tube baby using frozen embryos was a 'very sophisticated' technique.