Stanford-developed technique induces egg growth in infertile women
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a way to induce the ovaries of some infertile women to produce eggs.
Using the technique, clinicians at the St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan, collected viable eggs from five women with a condition called primary ovarian insufficiency. One of these women has given birth to a healthy baby.
Twenty-seven women in Japan took part in the experimental study. The researchers were able to collect mature eggs for in vitro fertilization from five of them. Although it has not yet been tested in women with other causes of infertility, the researchers plan to investigate whether the technique can also help women with early menopause caused by cancer chemotherapy or radiation, and infertile women between the ages of 40 and 45.
The research was published online Sept. 30 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The technique, which the researchers refer to as “in vitro activation,” or IVA, requires an ovary (or a portion of an ovary) to be removed from the woman, treated outside the body and then re-implanted near her fallopian tubes. The woman is then treated with hormones to stimulate the growth of specialized structures in the ovaries called follicles in which eggs develop.
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