'Fully' lab-grown human eggs may lead to new fertility treatments

London, Feb 9: In a first, scientists have grown human eggs in a laboratory from its earliest stage to full maturity, an advance that could lead to improved fertility treatment for young cancer patients. Previously, the feat was achieved in mice eggs to produce live offspring. But the process proved tricky in humans. However, the egg cells were removed from ovary tissue at their earliest stage of development, to the point at which they are ready to be fertilised. The study explained how human eggs develop at various stages, which could aid research into other infertility treatments and regenerative medicine. For the procedure, the scientists first placed very small, immature human eggs within ovarian tissue in culture in the lab, where they are left to develop. When the eggs grow and become more than double their initial size, they are separated from the ovarian follicles, before further growth and monitoring. Eggs and their surrounding cells are then removed from liquid culture to undergo further development in a nutrient-rich membrane. The technique could help safeguard the fertility of girls with cancer ahead of potentially harmful medical treatment, such as chemotherapy. (IANS)