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To Get Pregnant in Your Sixties

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Saturday, January 12, 2008 | 0 comments

In a breakthrough that sent shock waves through fertility clinics, Jonathan Tilly, a reproductive biologist at Harvard Medical School, released a study in March that suggests doctors may be able to boost women’s supplies of eggs and help them bear children long after the normal onset of menopause.

Biologists previously assumed that female mammals are born with a limited supply of eggs, which gradually declines with age. But the discovery of vast numbers of immature eggs dying in the ovaries of mice led Tilly’s team to find what they claim are hidden ovarian stem cells that can sprout new eggs to replace vanishing ones.

If this proves true in humans, women in their forties, fifties, and sixties may be able to bear children by freezing stem cells at a young age and having them re-implanted at a later date. Cancer patients, often left infertile by chemical and radiation therapy, could put stem cells on ice before treatment, or drugs may be able to rev up old or damaged stem cells. Tilly has already found a molecule that boosts the number of eggs mice make. “I think it’ll be in the clinic quicker than you can dream of,” he says.


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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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