By Hilary White

  LONDON, February 26, 2008 ( – Advances in cryotechnologies have allowed British IVF facilities to offer a new service to infertile women, the Times reports today. Using recently developed techniques of freezing tissues, six women have stored extracted ova to be donated later to their infertile daughters who suffer from Turner syndrome, a condition that makes it impossible for them to produce their own eggs.

  The Times quotes Dr. Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility Services, saying, “The perfect egg donors for girls with Turner syndrome are their own mothers.” The women, five of whom have undergone the procedure at Care Fertility, a chain of clinics across the Midlands and the north of England, intend to donate their ova to be used later in IVF treatments to create offspring that have a “genetic link”. Under this scheme, the daughters would be giving birth to their own half-siblings.

  Under British law, regulations do not prohibit the storage and donation of gametes, either male or female. Until recently, however, it was very difficult to store ova, which have a greater tendency to break down under the freezing process than sperm.

  Josephine Quintavalle of Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) expressed some concerns about the technology, saying, “The child could feel a crisis of identity trying to work out their relationship with relatives. The daughter’s husband may also feel an obligation to fertilise his mother-in-law’s eggs.”

  But Professor Gedis Grudzinskas, a consultant gynaecologist at the Bridge Centre, in London, defended the technology, saying, “This is a right and proper way to use this egg-freezing technology. It is a natural urge for women to want to become grandparents.”