Facts | February 9, 2018:
Scientists, for the first time have succeeded in growing human eggs in a laboratory from the earliest stages in ovarian tissue all the way to full maturity – a scientific step that had previously been taken in mice.
Publishing their result in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction on Friday, scientists from Britain and the United States said it could one day help in developing regenerative medicine therapies and new infertility treatments.
Previously in their 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.
This latest work, by scientists at two research hospitals in Edinburgh and the Center for Human Reproduction in New York, is the first time human eggs have been developed outside the human body from their earliest stage to full maturity.
Evelyn Telfer, who co-led the work said, “Being able to fully develop human eggs in the lab could widen the scope of available fertility treatments. We are now working on optimizing the conditions that support egg development in this way and studying how healthy they are”.
Independent experts not directly involved in this work praised it as important, but also cautioned that there is much more to do before lab-grown human eggs can be safely being made ready for fertilization with sperm.
“This early data suggests this may well be feasible in the future,” said Ali Abbara, a senior clinical lecturer in Endocrinology at Imperial College London.
“(But) the technology remains at an early stage, and much more work is needed to make sure that the technique is safe and optimized before we ascertain whether these eggs remain normal during the process, and can be fertilized to form embryos that could lead to healthy babies.”
Darren Griffin, a genetics professor at Kent University in the UK, said the work was “an impressive technical achievement”.
He added that if success and safety rates were improved, later in future, it could help cancer patients wishing to preserve their fertility while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, improving fertility treatments, and will deepen scientific understanding of the earliest biological stages of human life.
Source: The Morung Express
Featured image: The Morung Express