Two British clinics are pioneering a procedure that will allow human eggs to be grown in the laboratory from ovarian tissue samples, a newspaper said Saturday.
The procedure, which could be offered to patients in five years, would allow women to delay motherhood by "banking" a piece of ovary tissue in a laboratory until they are ready to start a family, according to The Daily Telegraph.
It could also remove many of the risks associated with IVF treatment such as hyper-stimulation of the ovaries which can prove fatal, it said.
The Daily Telegraph said tiny slivers of ovarian tissue containing thousands of immature eggs would be removed through keyhole surgery and then frozen until the women think the time is right to bear children.
Hormone chemicals would be used to grow the immature eggs to mature ones ready for IVF treatment, according to the newspaper.
"It would mean we have got a pool of thousands of eggs at very little risk to the woman and relatively low cost because you avoid the huge drug costs," said Alan Thornhill, scientific director of the Bridge Fertility Clinic where the method is being developed.
"Instead of having up to 10 eggs to work with, with this you can have lots of eggs without the risk of over-stimulation," he was quoted as saying. "The part of the process we are removing is of huge benefit to the woman."
Simon Fishel, the managing director of the Care Fertility Clinic, who is also working to perfect the technique, said: "The way we do it now is the only way we know how. If we can improve on that we ought to improve it.
"This approach would only be an advantage to the woman because it avoids most of the risks. It would be better and healthier for the patient," he told The Daily Telegraph.