Scientific advancements may soon change the game for women who face issues with infertility, especially for those who undergone cancer treatment or survived childhood cancer.
In the past, teens who have survived cancer often need to undergo hormone replacement therapy, but a new development in 3D organ printing may help to change all of this–and it may even help to replace the need for IF treatment in some people.
Scientists from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering are in the process of creating 3D printed ovaries, which would be able to restore fertility and stimulate hormone production–a breakthrough which could be life-changing for many women.
While it’s not the first synthetic ovary ever created, the team’s creation is novel in its own way. It’s the first time synthetic ovaries have been made via 3D printing with a substance known as “gelatin scaffolding.”
As reported, “Previous efforts used gel substances to encapsulate egg cells, but they were unfortunately prone to breaking down and collapsing upon themselves. The scaffolding provided a much more stable environment that gave the follicles a higher rate of survival.”
The team has even tested out their product on mice. Sources say that after replacing the mouses’ real ovaries with the artificial ones, they were able to ovulate normally and even went on to produce healthy offspring. The 3D-ovaries were so successful, they even triggered the new moms to lactate and allowed them to nurse their young without any issues.
Despite this initial success, it will be a long time before this endeavor makes it way to human beings, but at least things look promising so far.