An artificial cell structure has been created that mimics a woman’s ovary and may one day be used to develop immature human eggs. Scientists in the UK hope that this could allow eggs taken from women who need medical treatment to be matured outside the body.
Built in a honeycomb shape with the human egg cells placed in the holes, the “ovary” grows over the egg cells, creating a safe place for them to develop.
“This certainly has the potential to provide a very good way of maturing very immature eggs in the lab to the point where they can be used for assisted reproduction,” said Professor Neil McClure from Queen’s University in Belfast.
“There are lots of studies that need to b done but it is a huge step forward and a very novel technique that has the potential to give hope to young women who are going to be undergoing treatment which will prevent them having children naturally,” Professor Neil added.
However, other experts have warned that more research is necessary. “ I don’t think its quite accurate to label it as an artificial ovary,” said Professor Bill Ledger from Sheffield University.