Women have unlimited number of eggs

12:0PM, Feb 28th 2012

Scientists are out to disprove years of medical research and the commonly held belief that women are born with all the eggs they will ever carry in a lifetime.

Image: Thinkstock

Scientists are out to disprove years of medical research and the commonly held belief that women are born with all the eggs they will ever carry in a lifetime.

Researchers at the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US have managed to isolate stem cells existing in the tissues of human ovaries that appear to have the ability to produce eggs.

These new findings which were published in the journal Nature Medicine this week could change the entire approach to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment.

Study researcher and director of the Vincent Center, Dr Johnathan Tilly , said women would no longer need to endure hormone injections to extract eggs, but that the process could be conducted extraneously from the body.

"That whole program of IVF… becomes a non-necessity," Dr Tilly said.

By targeting a protein found on the surface of the stem cells, Dr Tilly and his team of researchers were able to grow the isolated cells in dishes, producing stem cells with similar properties to human eggs.

The stem cells were then placed into human ovarian tissue and grafted into mice to see whether they could produce eggs. After one to two weeks, researchers say they saw positive results that confirmed egg cells had formed in the mice.

There remain a number of issues that plague the research, including whether the egg cells can be fertilised to produce human children, and currently laws in the US prohibit the fertilisation of human eggs for scientific research.

Other medical and science professionals have also raised concerns about the limitations of the paper in addressing whether the cells appearing in mice, have a role in adult humans.

"I would like to see better characterisation of this very small pool of cells that may be present in the ovary," said Dr Marco Conti, professor and director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco.

"There is no real functional evidence that this pool of cells indeed contributes to [egg formation] in the adult," said Dr Conti.

But the preliminary findings are encouraging for women, considering scientists have already isolate stem cells that can produce sperm throughout a man's life.

Dr Tilly also noted that unlike human eggs, the stem cells can be frozen without causing damage to them, meaning it may be possible to store them for use in future.

comments powered by Disqus

Related articles

 
 
instagram
  • How gorgeous is mummy @rachael_finch in this Ralph Lauren Pink Pony campaign raising awareness to help support and improve outcomes for women with breast cancer. On ya, Rach. #pinkpony #breastcancerawareness #october #beautifullady

    mother and baby How gorgeous is mummy @rachael_finch in this Ralph Lauren Pink Pony campaign raising awareness to help support and improve outcomes for women with breast cancer. On ya, Rach. #pinkpony #breastcancerawareness #october #beautifullady

    More from the team
  • Have just discovered these amazing felt rugs and cushions from @littlerosieandme You can customise the rugs in the colour ways you want - jadore!! #nurseryinspiration #nursery #rugs #feltcushions #musthave #cushions

    mother and baby Have just discovered these amazing felt rugs and cushions from @littlerosieandme You can customise the rugs in the colour ways you want - jadore!! #nurseryinspiration #nursery #rugs #feltcushions #musthave #cushions

    More from the team
  • We love baby news in the office and have just found out that Liv Tyler is expecting her second child! Congrats #livtyler #babynews #baby #pregnant #exciting

    mother and baby We love baby news in the office and have just found out that Liv Tyler is expecting her second child! Congrats #livtyler #babynews #baby #pregnant #exciting

    More from the team
  • Have a great month everyone! Especially all the gorgeous Librans and Scorpios! #october #spring #1stdayofthemonthisagoodday #happy

    mother and baby Have a great month everyone! Especially all the gorgeous Librans and Scorpios! #october #spring #1stdayofthemonthisagoodday #happy

    More from the team
  • The pants suit in itself was next level, but Amal just keeps getting better. What a stunning bride. #amalalamuddin #georgeclooney #weddingdress #love #weddingoftheyear #babiessoonplease

    mother and baby The pants suit in itself was next level, but Amal just keeps getting better. What a stunning bride. #amalalamuddin #georgeclooney #weddingdress #love #weddingoftheyear #babiessoonplease

    More from the team
  • Love this shot of our publisher, group brand integration manager and acting editor from the Mother & Baby Awards today. Thanks to our sponsors @colessupermarkets for being such great partners xx #mbawards #mbawards14 #motherandbabyawards #greatday #oscarsofthebabyindustry

    mother and baby Love this shot of our publisher, group brand integration manager and acting editor from the Mother & Baby Awards today. Thanks to our sponsors @colessupermarkets for being such great partners xx #mbawards #mbawards14 #motherandbabyawards #greatday #oscarsofthebabyindustry

    More from the team
  • Anndddd, it's over for another year! What a day. What a team. Feel so very privileged to work with such talented and amazing women xxx #mbawards #mbawards14 #motherandbabyawards #event #sydney #sydneyharbourbridge #deckhouse

    mother and baby Anndddd, it's over for another year! What a day. What a team. Feel so very privileged to work with such talented and amazing women xxx #mbawards #mbawards14 #motherandbabyawards #event #sydney #sydneyharbourbridge #deckhouse

    More from the team
  • You are always so happy, Sophie!!! What's not to smile about celebrating the Mother & Baby Awards with our fab sponsors from @colessupermarkets #mbawards #mbawards14 #motherandbabyawards

    mother and baby You are always so happy, Sophie!!! What's not to smile about celebrating the Mother & Baby Awards with our fab sponsors from @colessupermarkets #mbawards #mbawards14 #motherandbabyawards

    More from the team
  • Love a good table installation! Couldn't have done it without help from @thepartyparlour #motherandbabyawards #mbawards #mbawards14 #flowers #giftbsgs

    mother and baby Love a good table installation! Couldn't have done it without help from @thepartyparlour #motherandbabyawards #mbawards #mbawards14 #flowers #giftbsgs

    More from the team
  • Table settings are coming together! Exciting! @colessupermarkets #motherandbabyawards #mbawards #excited #springblooms #flowers #sophielegiraffe @deckhousewoolwich

    mother and baby Table settings are coming together! Exciting! @colessupermarkets #motherandbabyawards #mbawards #excited #springblooms #flowers #sophielegiraffe @deckhousewoolwich

    More from the team