Eggs Made from Skin Cells May Signal an End to Infertility

Researchers in at Kyushu University in Japan have figured out a way to grow fully-matured egg cells in a lab by using mouse skin cells. According to an article by New Scientist, the matured eggs have been fertilized to create healthy mice pups. In light of this new achievement, scientists and researchers have reason to believe it’s only a matter of time before the same is possible in humans. According to the article, such a discovery opens doors for the possibility of new fertility treatments, and the potential for two men to genetically father a baby together.

The study involved mice about 10 weeks old, which is around 30 years old in terms of human aging. Researchers took cells from the tails of the mice and turned them into pluripotent stem cells, which have the ability to continuously divide and form other cell types. By creating an environment that is suitable for cell growth, the researchers were able to encourage the cells to turn into immature egg cells. So far, the team of researchers at Kyushu University have been able to generate 4,048 mature eggs. In order to see if the mature eggs could produce healthy mice pups, researchers implanted fertilized eggs into female mice. Of the 1348 embryos that were made, eight pups were born.

Potential for New Fertility Treatments

This new discovery could also make leaps of progress for same-sex couples, men specifically, who wish to start a family. Katsuhiko Hayashi, who led the study, said if they could make human eggs “this could be a very powerful tool for curing infertility.” Infertility experts from around the world believe the same approach could be used to create eggs for women who have a low number of eggs or whose ovaries have been damaged.

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