Women who experience menopause early may be given the chance to have children again due to new stem cell treatment...
Fertility scientists have found a way of ‘restarting’ ovaries in women who have gone through early menopause, giving them the chance to have children again.
Premature ovarian failure affects 1% of women under 40, and one in 1,000 (0.1%) under 30. The normal age for menopause is debatable but experts consider early menopause as before 45. There is no current treatment for this condition.
Possible reasons include chromosome abnormalities, such as Down’s syndrome; enzyme deficiencies, which can damage eggs and prevent the production of the hormone oestrogen; and autoimmune diseases, where the body effectively turns on itself.
Scientists in Cairo used rats to conduct research with a special type of stem cell. These were implanted into female rates who had been chemically induced to ovarian failure. Results were shown to the World Congress on Fertility and Sterility in Munich and revealed that it could be used to treat women with the condition too.
Professor Osama Azmy, who led the study said: ‘The treated ovaries returned to producing eggs and hormones, and we could detect the presence of the stem cells within the newly functioning ovaries.’
However, there is still a long way to go until this treatment is applied to women: ‘We have not yet reached the stage of producing offspring, and so we will need to understand if the baby rats will be genetically related to the mother, or to the donor of the stem cells,’ said Professor Azmy.
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