No Eggs Required: New Scientific Breakthrough Shows Hope in Ending Infertility in WomenBy Chris Brandt
Could it be the end to infertility and a new hope for women who want to have a baby but cannot? The latest breakthrough made by a team of Japanese researchers showed that it is possible for women to get pregnant even without egg cells.
The team of Japanese scientists, led by Professor Katsuhiko Kayashi from Kyushu University, have developed a method which only uses skin cells to reproduce baby animals. They transformed the skin cells from a mouse's tail to transform them into what they call pluripotent stem cells, which have the ability to transform into many different tissues.
The researchers took some tissue cells from a mouse's tail and reprogrammed it to become egg cells. They, then, implanted those mature artificial egg cells into a female mice resulting in the birth of 11 healthy pups.
According to the research, the process of egg development used a combination of chemicals and biological signals and mingled them with gonadal somatic cells from the mouse's embryo. The scientists expect that as the research progresses, they will be able to create the process using skin cells instead of embryonic cells. If this happens, then there's no more need for embryonic tissue in the future.
This scientific breakthrough is the first of its kind where stem cells have been used to produce mature eggs outside the body. If this same method proves to be effective for humans, it will be the end of infertility giving hope to women who want to bear children but cannot due to medical or genetical reasons.
Aside from providing hope for infertile women, Professor Jacob Hanna, a stem cell biologist from Weizman Institute of Science in Israel said that it also provides hope for gay couples who are planning to have children of their own because the method can also one day be used to produce egg from a man's skin cell.
Hanna, who is also a gay activist, added that using the method where there are two biological fathers but no biological mother is 'legitimate to explore when the right time comes.'
The researcher, however, admitted that it will still take years before this happens citing that out of the 316 embryos they have created during the experiment, only 11 were successful. Despite that, the medical world praised the achievement.
The research is published in the journal Nature.