Human eggs grown in lab raise hopes to protect fertility before cancer treatment

For the first time, Scottish scientists have grown human eggs to maturity outside of the ovary in laboratory conditions. The study, still in its infancy, could lead to preserving the fertility of girls and women who have cancer ahead of harmful treatment like chemotherapy. It could also shed light on the mystery surrounding the growth of human egg.  Scientists of the University of Edinburgh removed immature egg cells from ovary tissue, placed them in a liquid culture in a laboratory and transferred them to a nutrient-rich membrane, allowing them to reach full growth. Right now, immature eggs in ovaries can develop fully only after women attain puberty. The new study may pave way to egg cells removed from patients’ ovarian tissue to be grown to maturity in the lab and stored for fertilisation. But only 10% of eggs cells removed from ovaries grew to maturity during the Edinburgh experiment. Since the eggs have not been fertilised, one cannot be sure how healthy they are. The university has to seek approval from a regulator to fertilise a lab-made egg to create an embryo for research.