Do women make new eggs? – fertility clinic in Arizona
The process of science is a continual process of discovery. As new research studies are done, old assumptions are questioned. For years, the belief in mainstream fertility science has been that women don’t make any new eggs during adulthood, but rather are born with all of the eggs that they’ll ever have. However, new research indicates a surprising possibility. It may be the case that women actually do make new eggs during adulthood.
What does the new research look like?
A few different recent studies have examined the possibility that new eggs are created throughout life. Some of the research has been done in mice, and some has been done in human women.
Although other animals (such as birds and fish) have long been known to create new eggs throughout life, the standard belief has long been that mammals are different and do not make new eggs. However, a research team at Northeastern University in Boston has been questioning this dogma for years, via a series of experiments done in mice.
The research team found cells in the ovaries of mice that appeared to be stem cells. Although the finding of stem cells is by itself strongly suggestive of the creation of new eggs, the team wanted to prove that this was actually occurring. They genetically modified some human ovarian stem cells with a protein (originally taken from jellyfish) that glows green, and then reintroduced these cells into the ovaries of the mice.
Later, the team found eggs in the ovaries that contained the green marker. In addition, some of the mouse babies were born green, meaning that they were created by eggs that originated from those green-tagged ovarian stem cells. These green baby mice were healthy, without any other genetic problems. In order to confirm this finding, the team used a technique called lineage tracking to follow the ovarian stem cells without altering them genetically. This confirmed that the stem cells had created new eggs, which later developed into healthy babies.
Another study, presented at a conference in 2016, raises the intriguing possibility that certain medications may be capable of stimulating the ovary to create new eggs. In this study, women who had been given a particular set of chemotherapy agents (known as ABVD) were found to have significantly more eggs in their ovaries than healthy women who hadn’t received these medications. Women who received a different set of chemotherapy agents, which is known to cause infertility, had far lower numbers of eggs. This strongly suggests that the adult human ovary is also capable of producing new eggs.
What does this mean for women?
So far, this is only preliminary research. Although there is great promise for the future of fertility medicine, this research has not yet led to any treatments to help those struggling with infertility. In the future, researchers hope to produce treatments based on these discoveries. For example, medications based on those used in the ABVD chemotherapy regimen might be capable of increasing egg counts in women with low ovarian reserve, without producing too many side effects. We’re excited about the potential for new treatment methods.
We watch for new fertility treatment methods at our fertility clinic in Arizona
At Reproductive Health Centers of Tucson, we’re always reading the latest scientific research on fertility. We’re greatly interested in new methods of treatment that could help our patients. We remain committed to offering you the most up-to-date, proven technology to help you start your family. If you’re looking for a fertility clinic in Arizona with a compassionate staff, top ratings, and a track record of offering the latest technologies, we would love to meet you. Please contact our office at (520) 733-0083 to schedule your appointment.