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Artificial Ovaries to Help Infertile Women

05 July 2018

If researchers were able to successfully construct an artificial ovary that could allow cancer patients to preserve their fertility, they would open up a door of possibilities when it comes to fertility preservation.

A team of scientists at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark stripped the ovarian tissue of cells.

Reproductologists "built" a fragment of tissue for transplantation, clearing the ovarian tissue from the "sick" cells with chemicals and transplanted it in the developing follicles of the female body. She will present the findings of this latest study today (2nd of July 2018) at the 34th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Barcelona, Spain.

The team then grew ovarian follicles on this scaffold of ovarian tissue.

One way women can preserve their chances of conceiving is with an ovarian tissue transplant, where all or part of the ovary is removed and frozen before it is damaged so that it can be used at a later date.

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Susanne Pors and others at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen believe artificial ovaries could be a safer option.

Researchers are also searching for some new ways to create artificial ovaries, which potentially could help sometime those women who are no more infertile after going through cancer treatment. These artificial ovaries could even help the women having health conditions like the blood ailment beta thalassemia or multiple sclerosis, which usually need dynamic fertility-harming treatments.

Now their best option is to freeze their eggs before problems in the ovary start and then undergo potentially gruelling IVF. To this end, the ovarian tissue is purified reagents from the cells, which could be affected by cancer, and left, the basis of connective tissue. The doctors then seeded this scaffold with hundreds of human follicles, the tiny sacs that hold early-stage eggs.

Though this approach might work, he concluded that "it is not possible to tell until the data from this research group have been peer-reviewed by the scientific community and published in a scientific journal". Per the Guardian, scientists have created an artificial ovary out of human tissue and eggs, and that ovary's performance on tests is encouraging.

The development, which could be available within three years, means women with malfunctioning ovaries can look forward to getting pregnant naturally. This could be the great future in which cancer patients are able to carry babies to term after being through radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Artificial Ovaries to Help Infertile Women