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Expert's IVF boost for older women

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OLDER women who are trying to get pregnant through IVF treatment may benefit from prize-winning research by a North-East scientist.

Dr Hayden Homer, a research training fellow at the Newcastle Fertility Centre, won first prize for his work at the Biennial Blair Bell Research Society Competition.

Dr Homer's research focused on the factors responsible for chromosomal abnormalities in human eggs.

Such abnormalities can lead to a higher risk of miscarriage or may cause disabilities such as Down's syndrome.

His work suggested that a little-known malfunction in the eggs of older women could explain repeated IVF treatment failures and the low success rates of older women undergoing treatment for infertility.

Experts say that from Dr Homer's finding it might be possible to achieve better IVF outcomes for older couples by rejuvenating their eggs using techniques that are already in everyday use in IVF laboratories around the world.

Dr Homer's research could also help to advance other techniques used by IVF scientists.

WellBeing of Women, the only UK charity dedicated to funding vital research and raising awareness of all aspects of women's reproductive health, awarded Dr Homer more than 85,000 for his research at the Centre for Life and at Newcastle University.

Dr Homer said: "I am deeply indebted to WellBeing of Women, without whose funding this work simply would not have been possible. I hope to pursue a career in clinical academic medicine and to further this research."

The Blair Bell Research prize was awarded to Dr Homer at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

(C) 2005 The Northern Echo. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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