We know that all women are born with all of their egg supply and that the menopause is reached when it becomes exhausted. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have found that in future it may be possible to create an unlimited supply of human eggs using stem cells from the woman’s ovaries.
The experiment was carried out in mice using stem cells surrounded by living human ovarian tissue grafted inside mice. The cells spontaneously generated immature eggs which were matured in the laboratory and fertilised with sperm to produce embryos.
Similar cells to those in mice, have been found in human ovaries and the fact that unlimited numbers of eggs could be produced gives hope to women undergoing cancer treatment using chemotherapy or radiotherapy which could irreparable damage the ovaries.
Also, women with a family history of premature menopause could in future use this technology to create more eggs for storage before the onset of the menopause.
This is exciting news, but as with any new technology it will be many years before it becomes a reality as it will require a lot of research into the safety for use in humans. I personally doubt whether it will receive approval for general use for at least another five years, if not much longer.
You may be interested to know that we have a short waiting list for treatment with donor eggs, which is due to our very successful egg sharing scheme.
If you would like more information then please call our egg donation line on 01992 78 50 65 and speak to Sarah, our Egg Donation Coordinator.