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Scientists Grow Eggs from Amniotic Tissue
February 4, 2013
A study published in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology has developed technology for creating eggs outside of the human body.
The research team led by Professor Elizer Shalev of Technion Israel Institute of Technology has used amniotic sac tissue, known for its ability to repurpose itself as another type of functioning tissue, to produce immature female gametes. The eggs are being exposed to follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and are expected to mature within three years’ time. At that time, they will be ready to fertilize with male sperm.
"Doctors have been looking for an alternative to egg donation for a long time. We hope it will soon be possible to grow as many eggs as needed," says Professor Shalev.
This discovery opens doors for couples struggling with infertility and can offer new fertility treatment options, particularly to couples considering donor egg in vitro fertilization (IVF). Given that amniotic tissue is typically considered medical waste after birth, scientists believe many women will be open to donating the tissue to promote this new reproductive technique.
The ethics behind using donated amniotic tissue to grow eggs must be further discussed.