The latest study is the first time a human egg has been developed in the lab from its earliest stage to full maturity. This accomplishment is set to give us new insight into how human eggs develop, and it could potentially offer a compelling new option to individuals who are at risk of fertility loss.
A fully mature lab-grown egg. Researchers must prove that the eggs cannot only mature, but do so without any abnormalities that could pose a risk to women.
Scientists have succeeded for the first time 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.More news: Florida Man's Apple AirPod Started Smoking, Blew Up, He Says
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Telfer, who worked alongside scientists from the Center for Human Reproduction in NY, grew the eggs using samples collected from 10 women who chose to undergo caesarian sections.
Some cancer patients now have a piece of their ovary removed before treatment and re-implanted later.
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 could be safely be made ready for fertilisation with sperm. The follicles grew in a broth of nutrients for eight days until some of the eggs started to develop. They noted that 48 eggs reached the penultimate step of maturity and only 9 reached complete maturity. Figuring out how to allow the eggs to fully mature in such a way for humans has proved to be much more hard, partially because our tissue is more complicated than mouse tissue, Telfer explained to theNew Scientist. It's good to see research into new ways that might maintain fertility. "We also hope to find out, subject to legal regulation, whether they can be fertilized", said Evelyn Telfer, a professor at the University of Edinburgh's Faculty of Biological Sciences. Prof Telfer explained that a lot of improvement in the steps is necessary before they can ideal this technique. In the lab-grown eggs, the polar bodies appeared strangely large, perhaps hinting at a problem. And even if that never happens, the research has still allowed them to better understand how human eggs develop.