A human egg was created in a UK lab, starting at a completely immature stage, thus paving the way for improved fertility treatments.
In earlier studies, scientists had done something similar to laboratory ova of mice, which eventually acquired healthy offspring. They also created human laboratory eggs, but from eggs that were not at their earliest stage.
The researchers, headed by Professor Evelyn Telfier of the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Edinburgh, who published the journal “Molecular Human Reproduction”, took ovarian tissue from the ovary at the earliest stage of their development. They then cultivated them further in the laboratory to be ripe for fertilization.
In this way, among other things, the fertility of girls with cancer, which will later be subjected to potentially harmful therapies such as chemotherapy, which may have consequences for their fertility, can be guaranteed early on in the future, according to the Athenian News Agency.
Immature ova will be possible, once collected by the young patient, to mature in the laboratory and be stored for future use so that they can acquire a child. Usually, in these cases, a part of the ovary is removed from the cancer patients and reimplanted later on after chemotherapy, but there is a risk that this process may re-trigger cancer.
Dr. Telfer said her team is now working to further improve the whole process in the lab, and the next step will be to determine whether human laboratory eggs can be fertilized.