The team say the technique could lead to new ways of preserving the fertility of children having cancer treatment. It is also an opportunity to explore how human eggs develop, much of which remains a mystery to science. Experts said it was an exciting breakthrough, but more work was needed before it could be used clinically.
This is a big breakthrough in improving understanding of human egg development.Prof Evelyn Telfer, , The University of Edinburgh
Women are born with immature eggs in their ovaries that can develop fully only after puberty. It has taken decades of work, but scientists can now grow eggs to maturity outside of the ovary.
It requires carefully controlling laboratory conditions including oxygen levels, hormones, proteins that simulate growth and the medium in which the eggs are cultured. 'Very exciting' But while the scientists have shown it is possible, the approach published in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction still needs refinement.
It is very inefficient with only 10% of eggs completing their journey to maturity. And the eggs have not been fertilised, so it is uncertain how viable they are...