'Fully' lab-grown human eggs may lead to new fertility treatments

A new technique pioneered by British scientists could help infertile women to conceive

A new technique pioneered by British scientists could help infertile women to conceive

A team at the University of Edinburgh, working with NY scientists, developed fully grown human eggs in a laboratory using small immature egg cells removed from ovary tissue, according to a report in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction.

"[For young girls] that is the only option they have to preserve their fertility, " said Prof Evelyn Telfer, co-author of the research from the University of Edinburgh.

The study - published in the Molecular Human Reproduction journal - represents the first time a human egg has been developed in the laboratory from earliest stage to full maturity.

They can have their eggs stimulated with daily hormone injections, but this delays cancer treatment for two or three months.

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In previous studies, scientists had developed mouse eggs in a laboratory to the stage where they produced live offspring, and had also matured human eggs from a relatively late stage of development.

You will get surprised to know that scientists in London have succeeded for the first time in growing human eggs in a laboratory from the earliest stages in ovarian tissue all the way to full maturity.

The new breakthrough could assist those with early menopause or cancer patients
The new breakthrough could assist those with early menopause or cancer patients

Women are born with immature eggs in their ovaries, which fully develop only after puberty.

Professor Simon Fishel, from Beacon CARE Fertility, has said that further research is needed to establish whether eggs grown this way would be healthy and viable.

But many scientists claim it could be "years" before the techniques are safe and widely available, Sky News writes.

Women who undergo treatments that can have side effects on fertility such as chemotherapy have an important reproductive chance by allowing the procedure to recover their immature oocytes, mature them in the laboratory, and store them for future fertilization.

"We also hope to find out, subject to regulatory approval, whether they can be fertilised", she said.

Women undergoing IVF are able to ovulate successfully, but then struggle to fertilise their eggs with sperm.

The study, carried out in collaboration with the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, The Center for Human Reproduction in NY and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, was supported by the Medical Research Council.

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