Doctors have managed to extract eggs from 5 -year-old girls and freeze them for use when they are old enough to have children.

The scientific advance, which was thought to be impossible, will enable girls suffering childhood cancers such as leukemia to become parents later in life. Thousands are left infertile each year after undergoing chemotherapy.

It also opens the possibility of storing girls’ eggs to protect them against any form of infertility in later life.

Previously it was believed the eggs of prepubescent girls were too immature to be extracted. It was thought they became viable only at puberty by reacting to hormonal changes in the body.

Israeli doctors have, however, managed to extract the eggs and then culture them in test-tubes to make them viable. The resulting eggs are no different to those of a 20-year-old girl, say the doctors.

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