By Grace Kim
In vitro fertilization, otherwise known as IVF, is a reproductive technology used as a means to help women get pregnant. As outlined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, IVF requires five basic steps. First, stimulation is required to boost ovulation in order to produce more than one egg. Then, the eggs are removed from the woman’s body. The eggs are then inseminated with sperm, leading to fertilization. Once the eggs are fertilized, the eggs develop into embryos, and the embryos are cultured and monitored to ensure that the embryos are growing. If the embryos are healthy, the embryos are then placed into the woman’s womb.
The first baby born through assisted reproductive technology was Louise Brown in 1978 and since then, the technology has not been modified very much. Now in 2015, Zain Rajani has been born through a new innovative IVF technique using only the stem cells of healthy undeveloped eggs, which act as precursors to form eggs.
Zain Rajani was born by taking an ovarian tissue sample from his mother, Natasha Rajani. Her tissue sample was analyzed in order to identify egg stem cells. Once the egg stem cells were identified, they were removed from the tissue and purified. The purification process allowed for the extraction of the mitochondria, organelles that provide energy for cell, in the egg stem cells. The introduction of mitochondria provided a more reliable source of energy for the egg cells and helped produce a healthy embryo for Natasha, resulting in Baby Zain.
Introducing mitochondria in IVF techniques is currently not available in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers procedures involving the introduction of mitochondria as gene therapy, and all forms of gene therapy are regulated by the FDA.
IVF is a successful endeavor, and it is used to help address and resolve infertility issues. However, IVF is also an expensive, emotional process, and often times, many people go through the process multiple times. With new innovations to the IVF technique, this could be a new way to help alleviate some of the problems associated with IVF, bringing hope to people who wish to have children who may not have had the opportunity to do so before.