There has been a breakthrough in fertility treatment after researchers at the University of Edinburgh have grown human eggs in the laboratory for the first time. With the potential to become fertilized embryos, the groundbreaking advancement could potentially help women who do not ovulate and so don’t respond to IVF.
The study used strips of ovarian tissue removed in a biopsy, replicating the process where egg cells mature in the ovaries outside of the body. The process is called In Vitro Maturation (IVM), an advancement on IVF which sees a mature egg fused with a sperm and then implanted as a fertilized embryo. However, with a 30% success rate, many women struggle to conceive with IVF usually needing multiple cycles for a positive result (which can be extremely expensive depending on where you live).
IVM, however, would be able to help women who have lost their fertility, giving glimmers of hope to cancer patients who have been unable to preserve fertility - specifically young girls. Currently, ovarian tissue is removed, stored and potentially transplanted back once the patient is in remission. However, scientists have warned against this as with blood-borne cancers transplanting back cells which are potentially abnormal can be risky.
The new process is therefore an exciting development in helping women who have lost fertility, although there is still much work to be done to understand whether the eggs are able to form a healthy embryo.
Senior author of the study, Professor Evelyn Telfer, told the BBC:
‘It's very exciting to obtain proof of principle that it's possible to reach this stage in human tissue.
‘But that has to be tempered by the whole lot of work needed to improve the culture conditions and test the quality of the oocytes [eggs].
‘But apart from any clinical applications, this is a big breakthrough in improving understanding of human egg development.’
The ‘whole lot of work’ means that it could be years before this study proves an effective treatment in fertility clinics. However, the team are hopeful having spent 30 years researching IVM and previously were only able to complete parts of the maturation process, never making it to the final stage it’s in now.
While it may be years before we understand whether this could be translated into therapy, it is a significant breakthrough for women experiencing infertility. If you're currently struggling with IVF treatment, check out our IVF warriors for a helping hand.
Check out Blake Lively's maternity style...
Blake Lively Maternity Style grazia
Red carpet fashion is Blake's strong suite, and this black and white dress by Carolina Herrera (complete with floral detailing and semi-sheer skirt) doesn't disappoint (June 2016)
For 'The Shallows' after-party, Black chose an asymmetric look from David Koma's most recent collection, layering a cold-shoulder black body under a skirt with cut-out detail (June 2016)
Another sartorial triumph for Blake, who stuck close to her winning maternity style formula of a form-fitting midi dress in a bold block colour (June 2016)
For her red carpet 'princess' moment, Blake chose pale blue Louis Vuitton - and looked like she'd stepped straight out of a fairytale (May 2016)
Denim jacket + embellished ball gown = surprisingly cool. Blake went full Noughties when promoting 'The Shallows' in New York, layering a Madewell jacket over a Jenny Packham dress (June 2016)
Cinderella who? Blake chose another fairytale gown for the Cannes screening of The BFG, this time by Atelier Versace (May 2015)
The pale peach shade of this heavily embellished Elie Saab gown compliments Blake's skin tone perfectly (June 2016)
Teaming a grey hoodie with a feathered mini-dress and towering Louboutins is certainly unchartered style territory - a move worthy of Gossip Girl's Serena? (June 2016)
Promoting her new film 'The Shallows' on 'The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,' Blake channelled this season's off-the-shoulder trend in a royal blue midi style from Cushnie Et Ochs, complete with crossover neckline and cut-out detailling (June 2016)
Promoting 'The Shallows' at the Cannes Film Festival, Blake appeared to take inspiration from her role in the surfer horror flick, choosing a cut-out midi dress fashioned from scuba material (May 2016)
Could anyone apart from Blake pull off this sequinned coat (heavily embellished with flowers, natch) and this striped red minidress (both by Chanel)? Probably not (May 2016)
Can anyone else pull off tricky shades of yellow with as much panache as Ms. Lively? We don't think so. Golden girl Blake chose velvet Valentino for the Café Society luncheon in Cannes (May 2016)
Sheer panels? Check. Skin tight? Check. Sparkle? Check. Blake's fashion formula certainly isn't for the faint-hearted, but the actress certainly looked the part at the opening gala for her film, Café Society (May 2015)
Coat dresses aren't usually part of Blake's sartorial vocabulary, but she pulls off this chic feathered number by Salvatore Ferragamo with aplomb (May 2016)
For the Café Society photocall in Cannes, Blake channelled the dancing lady emoji (you know the one) in this scarlet jumpsuit by Juan Carlos Obando (May 2016)
So Blake's pale pink Burberry gown for this year's Met Gala didn't exactly tie in to the event's 'Manus x Machina' theme, but when she looks as great as this, we aren't exactly complaining... (May 2016)
Lemon yellow isn’t the easiest shade to pull off, but Blake made light work of it in this V-neck Gucci style at the Angel Ball in New York, while pregnant with her first child (October 2014)
The 2014 Golden Hearts Awards called for another pitch-perfect evening look from Blake – this time, a delicately embellished pale pink dress in a simple, A-line style from Michael Kors Resort. Straight out of Serena van der Woodsen’s wardrobe, don’t you think? (October 2014)
Proving she can pull off ‘bronde’ just as well as her trademark California blonde, Blake looked effortlessly stylish in a form-fitting, one shouldered black gown by Kaufmanfranco at L’Oreal’s Women of Worth dinner in New York (December 2014)
Wave print Versace? So appropriate for another The Shallows promo appearance - complete with gloriously corkscrew curls (June 2016)
For the press conference for her latest film 'Café Society,' Blake chose a patterned pink dress by Jonathan Simkhai, teamed with heels by Brit designer Sophia Webster (July 2016)
For a night out with friends in New York, Blake wore a blue wrap dress with graphic stripes by Diane von Furstenberg (July 2016)
For her appearance on the Tonight Show to promote new film 'Café Society,' Blake wore a dramatic cut out style with floral embellishment by Emanuel Ungaro. Who said maternity style had to play it safe? (July 2016)
Summer in the city calls for a fashion-forward take on the bohemian trend. Blake's patterned midi dress with mesh panels is giving us serious Serena van der Woodsen vibes, too (July 2016)
Continuing her spot-on maternity style spree for the 'Café Society' promo trail, the actress opted for pale grey Carolina Herrera - complete with white pom-pom detailing (July 2016)