Thursday, March 1, 2012

Grow me some new eggs! New possible fertility treatment with stem cells

We have always been told that we are born with all the eggs our body will ever make. In fact, at birth, our ovaries contain 2 million follicles (little hollow balls of cells with an immature egg in the middle). The ovaries absorb half of these during our childhood and when we get our period for the first time we are left with around 400,000 follicles, of which 300 to 500 will actually develop into eggs.

And then a study that came out this week (from Harvard no less and published in Nature Medicine) totally makes us rethink our ways of thinking. They found that a new type of stem cells in the ovaries that can make immature egg cells (which will then grow into possible fertile eggs). Now they were able to show that when injecting these stem cells into pieces of human ovaries, and then transplanting them to mice, the mice were able to make eggs. Como say wha? Yeah, pretty cool stuff.

Does this mean that we can go to our lady parts doc and ask for stem cells to be injected into our ovaries to give us some more eggs? Not quite. But the research is quite promising and can mean that later down the road we may be able to give our ovaries little recharge if we are having fertility issues.

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