Hoag Reports County’s 1st Frozen-Egg Birth

Times Staff Writer

The birth of an 8-pound, 10-ounce boy has marked the first birth of a baby conceived under a program at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian that uses a frozen pre-embryo that was thawed and implanted into the mother, officials announced Tuesday.

Ann Brown, a 41-year-old Laguna Beach counseling intern, gave birth to Garrett Holderness Brown on Oct. 31 at 10:36 p.m. Hoag spokeswoman Pam Bolen said it was the first time that the process, called cryopreservation, had been performed in the county.

According to data to be published in a national medical journal, Bolen said, just 34 live births had been reported from cryopreserved pre-embryos in the United States.

Five eggs were surgically removed from Brown in October, 1987. Four were immediately reimplanted in her Fallopian tubes, along with her husband’s sperm to induce fertilization. The fifth egg was preserved by cryopreservation at 321 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.


Before the egg was frozen, it was mixed with her husband’s sperm and grew overnight to a two-cell stage known as a pre-embryo. At the time of the pre-embryo’s freezing, fertilization had begun but had not been completed.

When conception did not take place for any of the four eggs placed in her Fallopian tubes, Brown’s doctors decided to thaw the fifth egg and transfer it into her uterine cavity in February.

Dr. Lawrence Werlin, medical director of Hoag Fertility Services, said that “cryopreservation of her extra egg gave the Browns a second chance to establish a pregnancy without having to undergo the full treatment cycle again.

“Clearly, this proved to be the difference between success and failure, and we are fortunate to be one of the few fertility centers in this country to be able to offer our patients the advantages of cryopreservation.”


Hoag started is cryopreservation program in October, 1987. Werline said a cryopreserved egg had been transferred once before at Hoag, but the woman did not become pregnant.