World's First Artificial Ovary Raises Hope For The Infertile
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17 Sptember 2010
GIVING fresh hope to women who are unable to have children, scientists have developed the world's first artificial ovary which is capable of maturing human eggs as effective as a real one.
Researchers at Brown University, who created the ovary in a laboratory from cells donated by hospital patients, said it can mimic a real ovary by growing over the eggs and allowing them to mature.
The breakthrough, the researchers said, could help cancer sufferers who become infertile from chemotherapy or other treatments which damage the reproductive system. This could allow eggs to be taken from women before they were exposed to chemotherapy or radiation and then developed in the artificial structure, The Te legraph reported.
Sandra Carson, professor of gynaecology at the Brown University, said the artificial organs could also be used to help discover why some women find it difficult to conceive.
For the research, the scientists grew the donor cells into honeycomb shapes before placing human egg cells in the holes. Within days the cells had enveloped the immature eggs and they were able to grow to full maturity, the point at which they would be released into the womb to be fertilised.
In the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, experts said the new development did not yet represent a "real artificial ovary" because the ovary did not have the capacity to produce its own eggs.