Scientists grow human eggs to full maturity in a lab

Saturday, 10 Feb, 2018

You will get surprised to know that scientists in London 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.

Even though we are still far from actually being able to develop and fertilise eggs, this study has shown the path could lead to new approaches for developing fertility preservation especially those who suffer from diseases such as cancer.

In previous studies, scientists had developed mouse eggs in a laboratory to the stage where they produced live offspring, and had also matured human eggs from a relatively late stage of development.

Experts who did not take part in the research hailed the achievement as promising, but stressed it would take years to translate into a safe and proven therapy.

Women who undergo chemotherapy for cancer treatment, which can cause sterility, stand to benefit the most if scientists are able to flawless the new technique.

It would allow them to freeze early-stage egg cells before undergoing treatment, to be matured in the lab at a later time to be fertilised with sperm to make a baby.

Patients can now opt to have ovarian tissue removed before therapy to be re-implanted afterwards.

This latest work, by scientists at two research hospitals in Edinburgh and the Center for Human Reproduction in NY, is the first time human eggs have been developed outside the human body from their earliest stage to full maturity. "However, this is an important breakthrough, which could offer hope to women with infertility in the future".

Study co-author Evelyn Telfer of the University of Edinburgh said the next step was to seek regulatory approval to test whether the lab-grown eggs could be fertilized.