Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Health Care | By Alberto Manning

Scientists grow human eggs to full maturity in a lab

Scientists grow human eggs to full maturity in a lab

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have grown human eggs for the first time in the laboratory.

Publishing their result in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction yesterday, scientists from two British research hospitals in Edinburgh and the Centre for Human Reproduction in NY said it could one day help in developing regenerative medicine therapies and new infertility treatments.

However, putting the tissue back carries a risk of reintroducing cancer.

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Previous studies had developed mouse eggs to produce live offspring, but this is the first a time a human egg has been matured from its earliest stage of development. Self-driving cars are closer to becoming a normal thing than ever before, robots are changing the way we have sex, and now human eggs are able to be grown in a laboratory. These eggs mature with time and each month during menstruation, a mature egg is released from the ovary.

The technique has been pioneered by Professor Evelyn Telfer and colleagues at Edinburgh University.

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Biology researchers have managed to grow human-egg cells obtained from ovary tissue to full maturity in a lab, promising a new treatment for fertility preservation.

If one day they're able to fertilize the eggs and they prove to be healthy, this could change the lives of girls with cancer by protecting their fertility.

Immature eggs recovered from patients' ovarian tissue could be matured in the lab and stored for later fertilisation. We are working to optimize the conditions that support the development of the egg and study their health. With how fast the human eggs matured, there are problems that make them an iffy alternative when it comes to fertility treatments.

Telfer admits far more research is necessary, and hopes to get regulatory approval for future research. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the Center for Human Reproduction in NY wanted to try to grow eggs outside the body.

According to experts, this is an exciting breakthrough but much work is needed before it could be used clinically.

The study was conducted by the Royal Edinburgh Infirmary, the New York Human Reproduction Center, and the Royal Children's Hospital in Edinburgh with the support of the UK Medical Research Council (MRC).

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