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China's first ovum bank to be set up in Beijing
Updated: 2004-03-29 14:45

Beijing is to build China's first "ovum bank" to help women who are reluctant to have children in order to pursue their careers or have other worries. The egg bank, to be located in the First Hospital affiliated to Peking University, is expected to serve as a kind of "reproductive insurance" for women.

According to a report in the Beijing Youth Daily, the hospital's fertility clinic has successfully developed a technology in freezing human ovum for future use. With this technique, women could choose to freeze their healthy ovum and store them for the future.

Dr. Zhang Xiao with the clinic explained five categories of women are eligible to this technology for reproduction: women who prefer to have children later; women who are going to be exposed to radioactive or toxic materials; women who are going to have ovary surgery or to receive chemotherapeutic treatment; women who are afraid their only children might encounter fatal accidents when they are too old to get conceived; and women who are infertile.

For infertile women, however, the rules by the health authorities on donated eggs must be strictly followed. The egg bank must keep detailed information about the donors - their blood type, age, complexion, personality, education and locations.

The technique would be a relief for women who pursue a career and have a family later, and could combat the incidence of age-related infertility. It is reported that the hospital is at the forefront of rapidly improving technological and scientific advances that are drastically lowering the rate of infertility.

Zhang said eggs of women below the age of 35 are healthy and of good quality. Zhang said the pre-dehydrated ovum would be stored in liquid nitrogen, at 198 degrees centigrade below zero. Under this temperature, the ovum is extremely inactive, and therefore can be kept for centuries.

The newspaper reported that the cost for egg storage has not been decided yet.

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