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Birth of Twins in Israel Marks Advance in In-vitro Technology

Healthy twins, a boy and a girl born at Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva last weekend, represent a major advance in the technology of in-vitro fertilization and new hope for infertile couples everywhere.

The infants were promptly dubbed the “Double Frozen Siberian Twins” because their father’s sperm had been frozen and the fertilized embryos, too, were put in deep freeze.

They are believed to be the first babies whose genetic material, or DNA, was frozen twice.

The twins weighed 5.7 pounds each at birth. Their parents, whose names have not been released, had waited 12 years to have children.

The father, who had a low sperm count, provided semen over long period. It was frozen in the hospital’s sperm bank until there was enough sperm for in-vitro fertilization.

The mother had a number of eggs removed from her ovary. Both sperm and ova were stored at minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Beilinson doctors fertilized them with defrosted sperm. Of the seven embryos that resulted, three were implanted in the mother’s uterus, but did not take.

The remaining four frozen embryos were defrosted and implanted three months later. Two developed into infants, who were delivered by normal methods.

Doctors say the case is important because it proves that DNA can survive deep freezing twice without suffering damage, thereby improving the medical tools to fight infertility.

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