Coping with unpredictable and precarious infertility journey holds many stops and starts, disappointments and frustrations. These experiences impact a women’s life. Now women suffering with infertility can keep hopes alive owing to the breakthrough development of world’s first artificial ovary by US scientists. Approximately 7.3 million women ages 15 to 44 have an impaired ability to get pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and 2.1 million married women in that age group experience infertility.
World’s first artificial ovary
Researchers at Brown University in Rhode Island have developed artificial ovary that could be beneficial for thousands of women who become infertile after chemotherapy or other treatments which adversely effects women’s reproductive system.
Researchers say the artificial ovary will be a great tool to analyze the activities of healthy ovaries as to how do they work. Also the discovery will allow researchers to take eggs from women before they were undergoing to chemotherapy or radiations and then it could be developed in the artificial structure.
Development of artificial ovaries
To develope the ovary, researchers, from Brown University and Woman & Infants Hospital in America collected theca cells and granulose cells donated by a group of child bearing age women and grew cells into honeycomb shape. The granulose cells were inserted later along with human egg cells (oocytes) after the theca cells grew into...
a honeycomb shape. Within a few days, the cells had enveloped the immature eggs and were able to grow to full maturity.
The artificial organ was found to help the eggs develop into their fully mature stage, at which they would be released into the womb to be fertilized.
The findings have been published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics.
Sandra Carson, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Brown University, wrote: “An ovary is composed of three main cell types, and this is the first time that anyone has created a 3-D tissue structure with triple cell line. This is really very, very new and is the first success in using 3-D tissue engineering principles.”
The artificial ovary is a revolutionary development to address the infertility problems in the women. Though further studies are needed to substantiate the long term effect of the organ, the discovery could be a very powerful egg harvesting tool for women who have cancer or looking to delay their reproduction.