Lab-grown eggs 'offer fertility treatment hope'

Lab-grown eggs 'offer fertility treatment hope'

Lab-grown eggs 'offer fertility treatment hope'

These women may still have egg cells that could be developed in the laboratory.

"But apart from any clinical applications, this is a big breakthrough in improving understanding of human egg development".

Beneficiaries could include cancer patients who want to preserve their fertility, women facing an early menopause, or those who want to delay having children.

It would be legal to fertilize one of the eggs made in the lab to create an embryo for research purposes, but the Edinburgh team needs a license to carry this experiment to that next step.

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In previous studies, scientists developed mouse eggs to produce live offspring and matured human eggs from a relatively late stage of development.

"This is an elegant piece of work, demonstrating for the first time that human eggs can be grown to maturity in a laboratory", Channa Jayasena of the Imperial College London said in a comment on the study results.

The researchers were able to grow the eggs from immature cells taken from human ovarian tissue - something that has only been achieved in mice before.

Women facing infertility have been given new hope after British scientists managed to grow human eggs in a laboratory for the first time. These eggs, once grown to maturity, could be used in IVF - or frozen to be used at a later date.

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Darren Griffin, professor of genetics at the University of Kent, says: The main "selling point" of this paper is that, in the past, the authors have been successful in developing 2 stages of the process through which ovary material can be taken and an egg ready for fertilisation can be produced. Stuart Lavery, of Hammersmith Hospital, said: "This preliminary work offers hope for patients ahead of sterilising treatments, such as chemotherapy, that they will be able to be parents later in life".

Women undergoing premature menopause - which can strike in their 20s - could also benefit.

Telfer adds that the new approach could also be useful for women whose eggs fail to fully develop in the body and, more fundamentally, will help boost our understanding of the mechanisms underpinning the development of human eggs.

"This latest breakthrough is valuable, [but] significant further research is now needed to confirm that these eggs are healthy and functioning as they should do", said Prof Helen Picton, an expert in reproduction and early development from the University of Leeds.

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And Robin Lovell-Badge of The Francis Crick Institute said the procedure was "really quite inefficient", with only nine out of dozens of early-stage cells becoming mature eggs.

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