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Viable Eggs Created From Stem Cells

Posted Oct 18 2012 12:00am

Guest post by David Cooper Japanese scientists were able to create viable eggs from mice stem cells. The scientists were able to fertilize the eggs created and breed healthy offspring. These results have implications that similar results could be found for humans, making embryo adoption a thing of the past.

Embryonic stem cells are derived from an embryo. These cells can develop into any cell, including oocyte cells that become eggs. Due to the nature of the research on embryonic stem cells, because the embryos must be destroyed in order for the stem cells to be utilized, this research has been very controversial.

Induced pluripotent stem cells, however, appear to be identical to embryonic stem cells, but they can be made from adult cells - such as skin or or blood cells. Thus, the ethical debate attached to embryonic stem cells would not apply in this case, and any woman would be able to create viable eggs from her own cells.
If viable, fertile human eggs can be produced from stem cells, then egg donors will not be a necessary part of IVF for infertile women. In addition, the chance of successful pregnancy decreases rapidly as a woman ages. According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, approximately fifty percent of women over 40 have ferility issues and the chance of successful pregnancy is near five percentThe results from this study may help remove the the biological clock issue for both older women - as stems cells would allow eggs to be created at any age - and for those women who suffer from poor ovarian reserve , since access to ovaries would not be necessary for the creation of eggs.
It is still unsure whether or not the results from this study will be applicable to humans. Either way, the research is revolutionary and the implications for human fertility could be extraordinary.
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