New baby mice were seen in their cage murmuring here and there normally. But in reality, they were born by the bioengineering of the eggs in the artificial ovary. They are technology-based, not naturally reproduced. The stem cells are used to grow both eggs and ovaries.
For the first time, both functional cells were grown outside the body of a mouse by scientists. Kyushu University professor Dr. Katsuhiko Hayashi was behind the experiment to produce sperm and eggs without using any living body. The main idea to use this concept on human beings is to shake up the whole conception of reproduction.
Stem cells are created by using the skin. So getting the raw material will not be challenging to make sperm and egg cells. Now, putting them in the test tube together for reproduction and then in the body of a surrogate, giving birth to a new life without using testes and ovaries.
Hayashi has seen the stem cells as the playdough by playing with them mixes to produce biomolecules and build different types of cells, including the sperm and eggs. However, they noticed during their experiment that eggs could not fully function outside the ovaries. So, to make the process happen, they use fresh ovarian tissue to incubate the cells of mice. But this process can be impractical and icky for treating future infertility problems.
The supporting cells inside the ovaries provide nutrients and secrete the secret hormones to fulfill the cells’ metabolic needs. It took five years for Hayashi’s teams to figure out the process for making the ovaries. The team has mixed many immature cells with the stem cells that create a bubble that tightly hugged the egg in development. After that process, the eggs are fertilized with sperm put in the surrogate mouse mother. After the normal pregnancies, mice give birth to many little mice with white and brown furs on the body.
This research opens the doors for many future studies because the reproduction process was always mysterious. But the artificial ovary produces the eggless effectively than the natural one. This is a significant discovery. Many things are yet to be open to us.
Written by: Maryem
Reported by: Imaaz Nadeem