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Fertility First: Human Egg Cells Grow Up in Lab

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Monday, July 20, 2009 | 0 comments

Human Egg Cells Grow Up in LabFor the first time, scientists have managed to grow mature human eggs from immature cells in the lab, a technique that may eventually help save the fertility of female cancer patients who aren’t eligible for traditional egg harvest.

Researchers from Northwestern University took immature egg cells, encased in a protective sac called a follicle, from 14 women who wanted to preserve their fertility before undergoing chemotherapy. By placing the cells in a unique three-dimensional growing environment for 30 days, the scientists coaxed the cells into becoming what appear to be healthy, functional human eggs.

“It is a major first,” said infertility expert Sherman Silber of St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, who was not involved in the research. “No one has yet tested the eggs by in-vitro fertilization and pregnancy, but they look quite normal and we are all excited about it.”

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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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