You’ve undoubtedly heard that women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever produce—once they’re gone, you’re SOL if you want to have kids. (Unlike men, who can theoretically reproduce until, and possibly after, their last breath.) Well, you and I were misinformed.
Back in 2004, scientists found egg-producing stem cells in the ovaries of adult mice. But new research from Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital has shown that human ladies are capable of generating similar stem cells. These cells were found in young Japanese women undergoing sex-reassignment surgery, and were implanted into ovaries—new eggs apparently started to form. According to researcher Jonathan Tilly, “Our current views of ovarian aging are incomplete. There’s much more to the story than simply the trickling away of a fixed pool of eggs.”
This means that women who are infertile (either from diseases like cancer or due to plain ole’ aging) can potentially regain their ability to reproduce. It’s unclear whether or not these fledgling eggs will mature into usable ones capable of generating a baby. Still, the ticking biological clock that’s been held over our collective heads is getting quieter and quieter. Read more on Tilly’s research in this ABC News article.
Image credit: itretail.com
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