Stem cells from the ovaries of reproductive age women can give rise to cells that appear to be mature oocytes, suggesting that women can produce more eggs than the batch they are born with. The findings, reported in the March 2012 issue of Nature Medicine, open the door to a new generation of assisted fertility treatments.
Germline stem cells that produce oocytes in vitro and fertilization-competent eggs in vivo have been identified in and isolated from adult mouse ovaries. Here we describe and validate a fluorescence-activated cell sorting-based protocol that can be used with adult mouse ovaries and human ovarian
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
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An extremely valuable source of eggs has been discovered in female mice. The discovery was described as a potentially infinite source of female fertility, or germline stem cells, which can continue producing new egg cells in adults, which could be a cure for sterility and menopause.
The discovery was made by Ji Wu of the University of Shanghai Jiao Tong and contradicts previous research on the female reproductive system, possibly paving the way for new prospects to treat sterility and revolutionize female reproduction, which after menopause could make use of germline stem cells that were previously isolated