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Posts tagged ‘Eggs’

Career first, children later: Taiwan women put their eggs on ice

An employee demonstrates the process to extract eggs in a lab at the e-Stork Reproductive Center in Hsinchu
An employee demonstrates the process to extract eggs in a lab at the e-Stork Reproductive Center in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan, August 8, 2013. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

(Reuters) – Caught between traditional expectations and career pressures, working women in Taiwan are increasingly opting to freeze their eggs at fertility clinics as they postpone marriage and motherhood.

Women play a big part in Taiwan’s workforce, trailing only New Zealand and Australia for female employment among 14 countries in Asia, a recent report by MasterCard showed.

A slowdown in the economy has made job security an even more pressing priority. That has been a factor in pushing the East Asian island’s average marriage age to 30 these days, from 24 in the 1980s, and in driving the interest in egg freezing.

“I was not sure when my ovaries would start degenerating but I was sure that I would probably marry late and I was sure that I wanted to become a mother,” said Linn Kuo, 34, who chose to freeze her eggs three years ago.

Kuo, a manager at Cisco System Taiwan Ltd, has a well-paid job that allows her to work from home. While her career has had a smooth trajectory, Kuo said she has not been as lucky in her love live.

After her mother died, she realized the importance of having the support of children in later life.

“I already had my conclusion,” she said. “So I did some research and decided to freeze my eggs.”

Lai Hsing-hua, the clinic director at e-Stork Reproduction Center in the city of Hsinchu, said he realized the need for egg-freezing services when many patients asked for egg donors after a late marriage.

“We thought if they had frozen their eggs earlier, maybe they wouldn’t need to use donated eggs,” he said. “That’s why we combined in-vitro fertilization with the idea of prevention – prevent them from using others’ eggs after their fertility has deteriorated.”

The clinic now gets more than 100 phone calls a month asking about egg freezing.

Five years ago, it did just 20 of the procedures. It handled more than 70 cases in 2011, more than 50 last year and already more than 40 in the first six months of this year.

The technology has matured and the embryo now has a high survival rate with egg freezing, Lai said. The service costs around 80,000 Taiwan dollars ($2,680) and the whole process of retrieving the egg takes about 20 minutes.

Chen Fen-ling, a professor of social work at National Taipei University, said societal pressures were causing women to delay marrying and starting a family.

“Married women are like candles burning at both ends,” she said. “We say that women work two jobs. They make money with a daytime job but, when they go back home, they take care of their children and parents-in-law. This pressure often makes women hesitate when making the decision about marriage.”

Those realities about career, marriage and motherhood are reflected in a woefully low birthrate. Taiwan is tied with Hong Kong in third-last place globally in terms of the average number of children born per woman, just above Macau and Singapore, the CIA World Factbook says.

(The story amends reference to Taiwan in paragraph 3)

(Reporting by Christine Lu; Editing by John O’Callaghan)

via Career first, children later: Taiwan women put their eggs on ice | Reuters.

Life created from eggs made from skin cells

Newborn mice

The resulting mice were fully fertile

 

Stem cells made from skin have become “grandparents” after generations of life were created in experiments by scientists in Japan.

The cells were used to create eggs, which were fertilised to produce baby mice. These later had their own babies.

If the technique could be adapted for people, it could help infertile couples have children and even allow women to overcome the menopause.

But experts say many scientific and ethical hurdles must be overcome.

Healthy and fertile

Stem cells are able to become any other type of cell in the body from blood to bone, nerves to skin.

Last year the team at Kyoto University managed to make viable sperm from stem cells. Now they have performed a similar feat with eggs.

They used stem cells from two sources: those collected from an embryo and skin-like cells which were reprogrammed into becoming stem cells.

I just thought wow! The science is quite brilliant”

Dr Evelyn Telfer University of Edinburgh

The first step, reported in the journal Science, was to turn the stem cells into early versions of eggs.

A “reconstituted ovary” was then built by surrounding the early eggs with other types of supporting cells which are normally found in an ovary. This was transplanted into female mice.

Surrounding the eggs in this environment helped them to mature.

IVF techniques were used to collect the eggs, fertilise them with sperm from a male mouse and implant the fertilised egg into a surrogate mother.

Dr Katsuhiko Hayashi, from Kyoto University, told the BBC: “They develop to be healthy and fertile offspring.”

Those babies then had babies of their own, whose “grandmother” was a cell in a laboratory dish.

Devastating blow

The ultimate aim of the research is to help infertile couples have children. If the same methods could be used in people then cells in skin could be turned into an egg. Any resulting child would be genetically related to the mother.

However, Dr Hayashi said that was still a distant prospect: “I must say that it is impossible to adapt immediately this system to human stem cells, due to a number of not only scientific reasons, but also ethical reasons.”

He said that the level of understanding of human egg development was still too limited. There would also be questions about the long-term consequences on the health of any resulting child.

Dr Evelyn Telfer, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “It’s an absolutely brilliant paper – they made oocytes [eggs] from scratch and get live offspring. I just thought wow! The science is quite brilliant.”

However, she warned that this had “no clinical relevance” as there were still too many gaps in understanding about how human eggs developed.

“If you can show it works in human cells it is like the Holy Grail of reproductive biology,” she added.

Prof Robert Norman, from the University of Adelaide, said: “For many infertile couples, finding they have no sperm or eggs is a devastating blow.

“This paper offers light to those who want a child, who is genetically related to them, by using personalised stem cells to create eggs that can produce an offspring that appears to be healthy.

“It also offers the potential for women to have their own children well past menopause raising even more ethical issues.

“Application to humans is still a long way off, but for the first time the goal appears to be in sight.”

Dr Allan Pacey, from the British Fertility Society and the University of Sheffield, said: “What is remarkable about this work is the fact that, although the process is still quite inefficient, the offspring appeared healthy and were themselves fertile as adults.”

BBC

Tomato baked eggs


Eggs over tomato for a change

  • Cook 60 mins
  • Prep 0 mins

Nutrition per serving

204 kcalories, protein 9.0g, carbohydrate 7.0g, fat 16.0g, saturated fat 3.0g, fibre 3.0g, salt 0.27g

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 2lb ripe vine tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley and/or chives

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Cut the tomatoes into quarters or thick wedges, depending on their size, then spread them over a fairly shallow 1.5 litre ovenproof dish. Peel the garlic, slice thinly and sprinkle over the tomatoes. Drizzle with the olive oil, season well with salt and pepper and stir everything together until the tomatoes are glistening.
    2. Slide the dish into the oven and bake for 40 minutes until the tomatoes have softened and are tinged with brown.
    3. Make four gaps among the tomatoes, break an egg into each gap and cover the dish with a sheet of foil. Return it to the oven for 5-10 minutes until the eggs are set to your liking. Scatter over the herbs and serve piping hot with thick slices of toast or warm ciabatta and a green salad on the side.

 

Read More: GoodFood

Healthy egg & chips

  • Cook 30 mins
  • Prep 0 mins
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition per serving

218 kcalories, protein 11.0g, carbohydrate 22.0g, fat 10.0g, saturated fat 2.0g, fibre 2.0g, salt 0.24g

Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 2 lb potatoes, diced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried crushed oregano or 1 tsp fresh leaves
  • 8 oz small mushrooms
  • 4 eggs

Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Tip the potatoes and shallots into a large, non-stick roasting tin, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle over the oregano, then mix everything together well. Bake for 15 mins, add the mushrooms, then cook for a further 10 mins until the potatoes are browned and tender.
  2. Make four gaps in the vegetables and crack an egg into each space. Return to the oven for 3-4 mins or until the eggs are cooked to your liking.

Read More: Good Food

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