New 3D-Printed Prosthetic Ovary To Restore Women’s Fertility

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Women who lost their fertility may soon be able to give birth again with the development of a new 3D-printed prosthetic ovary. Scientists mainly designed the ovary bio-prosthesis to be implanted in survivors of childhood cancers who have an increased risk of infertility as adults. Scientists at the Northwestern University reported the prosthetic ovary, in initial tests, has already allowed mice to give birth. For the technology, the scientists used a 3D printer to create a scaffold out of gelatin, or a biological material from the animal protein collagen. The scaffold can support hormone-producing cells and immature egg cells called oocytes. The team said the prosthetic ovary, when implanted, provided enough space for blood vessel formation, ovulation, and for the growth of the immature egg cells. Unisex Contraceptive: Scientists Find Potential Male Infertility Source, One Target For Men And Women To test the prosthetic ovary, the scientists removed the ovaries of mice and implanted the device. After the procedure, the team found the mice were able to ovulate and give birth to healthy pups.Like us on Facebook In addition, the prosthetic ovary also restored the estrous, or the female hormone cycle. The Northwestern University team believes the implant could help maintain hormone cycling in women who have a reduced ovarian function. Women with poor ovarian function are more likely to experience decreased production of reproductive hormones, which can promote issues with the onset of puberty, and later in life can cause bone and vascular health problems. “We developed this implant with downstream human applications in mind, as it is made through a scalable 3D printing method, using a material already used in humans,” said Dr Monica Laronda, a postdoctoral research fellow at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “We hope to one day restore fertility and hormone function in women who suffer from the side effects of cancer treatments or who were born with reduced ovarian function.” Photo Source: Flickr, Flickr