Medicine

First human eggs grown in laboratory offer fertility hope

First human eggs grown in laboratory offer fertility hope

At the moment they can have ovarian tissue frozen before treatment, which is then put back in to mature years later if the patient wants children of their own. However, the team hasn't yet received regulatory approval for fertilization, Telfer explained in a statement.

But the approach has drawbacks. Conventionally, cancer patients can have a piece of ovary removed before treatment, but reimplanting this tissue can risk reintroducing cancer.

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.

He said: "This study demonstrates that there is much laboratory research to be undertaken before we can be encouraged to believe that we will achieve healthy normal eggs for clinical purposes in vitro developed follicles derived from human ovarian cortical tissue". Step two: eggs more than doubled in size. In the third step the cells developed over a nutrient rich membrane and they matured fully in the fourth step.

It's a revolution and for the first time, human eggs have been developed outside the human body from their earliest stage to full maturity.

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But many scientists claim it could be "years" before the techniques are safe and widely available, Sky News writes. Saitou also notes that cells called polar bodies that pinch off from an egg during development are typically small because they don't receive as much cytoplasm as the egg itself, but the polar bodies in the study were unusually large. "With this [new] procedure, you could potentially get thousands or hundreds of eggs".

There has been a cautious welcome for the news from one of Ireland's leading fertility experts.

"This latest breakthrough is valuable, [but] significant further research is now needed to confirm that these eggs are healthy and functioning as they should do", said Prof Helen Picton, an expert in reproduction and early development from the University of Leeds.

Robin Lovell-Badge, of The Francis Crick Institute, also casts doubt on the technique used, saying it was "quite inefficient", with "only nine out of dozens of early-stage cells becoming mature eggs".

While both steps of this new process had been completed before, this most recent research with Telfer and her team represents the first time that the process has been completed from beginning to end within a single experiment.


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