Stem Cell Research Hatches New Egg Knowledge
University of Tennessee researchers believe they have found a way to delay menopause and increase fertility.
Ovarian stem cells, once harvested and carefully cultivated were found to develop into new oocytes (eggs) which were capable of being fertilized in vitro to produce an embryo.
At birth, females have about two million egg-producing follicles in their ovaries. As they reach puberty, that number falls to around 400,000, and continues to decline until menopause.
The discovery suggests that infertility may be a problem of the past, making IVF more viable. In addition, it could help women rendered infertile by chemotherapy to begin producing eggs again.
Another possibility is that pre-menopausal ovaries have a chance of being repopulated by younger stem cells, delaying menopause by up to 12 years.
Scientists caution that the research is still in its early stages and all questions have yet to be answered.
Ethical questions, for example, are still omnipresent. Pro-life advocates are horrified by the announcement.
‘The artificial harvesting of eggs is synonymous with the intention to manufacture human beings for research. This is unethical, unnecessary and unacceptable,’ said pro-lifer Matthew O’Gorman.