Fertility treatment may be a revolution
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet photoScientists hope to fertilize the first human egg cells grown in a lab from stem cells later this year, the Daily Record reported April 7. If successful, the move would mean a potentially unlimited supply of human eggs could be produced.
The breakthrough could revolutionize fertility treatment and also ease conditions associated with the menopause. Edinburgh University researchers are currently working with a team from Harvard Medical School to be the first to produce mature human eggs from stem cells isolated from ovarian tissue.
They will ask for a license to try to fertilize the lab-grown egg cells, to prove they are viable. If any embryos are produced, they will then undergo “robust” scientific and genetic testing to determine that they are normal.
Current methods mean only a small number of human egg cells are generated directly from the ovaries of women who have had hormonal stimulation.
Evelyn Telfer, a reproductive biologist at Edinburgh University, said: “With every experiment you don’t know the outcome. Even if we get an egg fertilized we don’t know that it will be normal. Any positive results could mean a breakthrough for fertility treatment.”
Test to be done this year
The team hope to do the tests at the IVF unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary later this year.
Professor Jonathan Tilly, from Harvard Medical School, believes the process could also reverse or delay the menopause, meaning women would be free from the health risks associated with later years.
“There is a grander golden chalice here, which is aging itself. These cells may provide a way for us to tackle that tremendously important problem. It’s very clear that keeping the ovaries working has tremendous health benefits on the ageing female body,” he said.