Human Stem Cells Can Make Egg Cells

Discovery could lead to major fertility advances, researchers say
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2012 4:07 AM CST
Scientists say they have made a breakthrough that could lead to the ability to grow new egg cells.   (riapr)

(Newser) – Scientists say they have figured out how to get stem cells from human ovaries to generate egg cells, a discovery that could be a major advance for fertility medicine, reports the New York Times. The Massachusetts General Hospital researchers employed a technique first used on mice ovaries that marks the surface of eggs and sperm cells then uses a machine to automatically sort the egg cells. The technique was tested on human ovaries donated from women in Japan who had undergone sex reassignment surgery.

Doctors have long believed that women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, so the ability to create additional eggs could give new options to some women who have trouble getting pregnant. "Our current views of ovarian aging are incomplete. There's much more to the story than simply the trickling away of a fixed pool of eggs," the lead researcher tells the AP. But hurdles remain: First the research must be confirmed by other labs, turning it into a practical medical technique will take years, and doctors warn that eggs grown in a lab often develop abnormalities. (Read more fertility stories.)

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