Researchers grow human eggs in laboratory for the first time

Hopes growing after fertility treatment breakthrough

This normally takes place in an ovary, but this latest breakthrough marks "the first time human eggs have been developed outside the human body from their earliest stage to full maturity", Reuters says.

Writing in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction, researchers from Edinburgh and NY describe how they took ovarian tissue from 10 women in their late twenties and thirties and, over four steps involving different cocktails of nutrients, encouraged the eggs to develop from their earliest form to maturity. Scientists were able to develop mouse eggs in the lab to a stage where these produced live offspring.

The development could help women undergoing harmful treatment, such as chemotherapy, allowing immature eggs to be recovered from patients, matured in a lab and stored for future fertilisation.

The University of Edinburgh says: "Conventionally, cancer patients can have a piece of ovary removed before treatment, but re-implanting this tissue can risk reintroducing cancer".

For the study, researchers at the University of Edinburgh took ovarian tissue from 10 people in their late 20s and 30s.


JERUSALEM • United States President Donald Trump told Israel yesterday that it too would need to make "significant compromises" for peace with the Palestinians, even as the Palestinians accused one of his Middle East envoys of bogging down diplomacy with what they see as pro-Israel bias. This discovery is considered a big breakthrough for the future of fertility preservation. Researchers must prove that the eggs cannot only mature, but do so without any abnormalities that could pose a risk to women.

Lavery added the new technique could also prove useful for women who have passed through puberty.

The technique has potential uses, but it still requires refinement.

The work marks the first time that human eggs were developed outside of the body from the earliest stage to full maturity. "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. Using various nutrients, they encouraged eggs to develop to maturity, the point at which they could be fertilized. Experts said that much more work was needed to ensure the process was safe for humans.

The study was carried out by the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, the Centre for Human Reproduction in NY and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh.

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