We all know from biology class that baby girls are born with a certain number of eggs. Once those eggs are gone, no more potential babies for you! So if you waited until you were older to start trying to have a family, you might be out of luck. Young women are oftentimes told that there is no time like the present to start a family, even if they don't feel emotionally, physically, or financially ready. Of course some of us know if we'd had children in our 20s, we would have been screwed. Big time.
But now, new research shows that perhaps our eggs are not so limited. In fact, we may be able to generate more eggs, thus ending the panic about our dwindling egg supply, thanks to a stem cell discovery.
A study initially done on mice found a primitive stem cell in ovaries that could be used to generate new eggs that can be fertilized and create new life. And now these same stem cells have been removed from young women, and used to create eggs, and re-inserted into human ovarian tissue. The results showed eggs that created the necessary structure to be fertilized by sperm and thus produce an embryo.
While some scientists say using this method for infertility treatments seems like a stretch, others see this as changing the way women go through menopause and allowing young women to put off having families for as long as they want. The huge advances in fertility treatments, egg donation, surrogate mothers, and more have been a godsend for women who have difficulty conceiving the old-fashioned way. But using your own genetic material seems like a huge bonus if you're having trouble getting pregnant. It seems like a huge win if this study produces real fertility results.
Of course, as one sociologist points out, wouldn't it be better if we had systems in place so young people could actually balance work, school, and parenting? (And older people, I might add. We all need that balance.) She's right, of course. But what are we going to do about that whole finding the right partner thing? That's what I was waiting for, no matter how many eggs I had laying-in-waiting.
What do you think about this?
Image via marioanima/Flickr