Women who have been through chemotherapy and have had their ovaries compromised could have new hope with this development.
CNN reports that Danish researchers have created an artificial ovary that can further progress the preservation of women’s fertility from the impact of cancer treatments.
These researchers have created what they call a “scaffold” on which early stage cells can develop into functional ovarian follicles. This could allow women with damaged ovaries to have children.
Dr Susanne Pors, a co-author of the study and postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Reproductive Biology at the University Hospital of Copenhagen Rigshospitalet, says the artificial ovary will consist of a scaffold originating from the woman’s own tissue or donated tissue and be combined with her own follicles.
According to the American Cancer Society, many types of cancer or the treatments of cancer can lead to infertility in women. They suggest many possible ways of having children after a cancer diagnosis which includes freezing eggs, embryos or pieces of the ovary before treatment, infertility treatment after cancer, adopting or using donated eggs which sometimes might require the help of a surrogate.
The method of freezing part of the ovary and then implanting it in a woman who wants to have children is dangerous and seen as an experimental procedure due to the fact that introducing the ovary back into the body might reintroduce malignant cancer cells.
This new method of creating an artificial ovary attempts to remove the possibility of reintroducing cancer into he body.
According to USA Today, Dr Susanne presented this paper on Monday at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. She said that the research is far from ready, but that they “have now done the first important steps towards constructing a cancer-free ovary.” And while there are many more studies to do, this is “a proof-of-concept” that shows human eggs can survive on a newly constructed scaffold.
Now while these artificial ovaries still have much work to be done on them and some scientists have expressed their uncertainty about whether or not they will be successful, it’s still a great step in innovation towards extending the fertility of female cancer patients who want to conceive biologically.
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