Researchers believe that they can produce new eggs in infertile women even if the ovaries are damaged or the woman has passed the usual age of conception.
The technique involves transplanting stem cells into the ovaries and could work on the one in 10 women who suffer from infertility as well as those who want children late in life.
Until recently it was assumed that a woman was born with a finite lifetime store of around two million egg-producing follicles and no more could be produced.
By puberty this number has already fallen to about 400,000, and at the menopause too few
We have been told for almost a decade that stem cells are the future of medicine: that these tiny clumps of tissue could become a biological “repair kit”, able to regenerate or heal almost any part of the body. But amid all the prophecies of patches for damaged hearts, new nerve cells for spinal injuries or stroke victims, and insulin-producing cells for diabetics, few people predicted that it would be British-based scientists who would be leading the way in mapping out this new terrain.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph last week, Professor Steve Jones bemoaned the failure of