Women who had experienced early menopausal but still wish to have babies may now have the option to undergo a cutting-edge fertility treatment called in vitro activation (IVA). The seemingly non-fertilizing ovaries will be removed through an experimental surgery, get these treated in a laboratory and then implanted back into the woman's body.
While in a laboratory, the ovaries will be dissected and treated with stimulant drugs to remove the growth block that causes the follicles to stay dormant.
The world's first successful post-menopausal baby implant was that of a 30-year-old Japanese woman. The son, who was born in Tokyo in December 2012, and his mother remain healthy, according to Dr. Kazuhiro Kawamura of the St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki, Japan.
The unnamed Japanese woman stopped menstrauating when she turned 25 and started the IVA process at age 29. The process produced six mature eggs which were then mixed with her husband's sperms to produce four embryos. Two were later transferred to her uterus while only one embryo survived. Thirty seven weeks and 2 days later, she delivered a healthy baby boy who weighed nearly 7 pounds, 3 ounces. The child's Apgar scores were 9 and 10.
This breakthrough was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Although the study is still in its very early stages, this could offer hope for young women who had experienced menopause early, a condition known as primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), causing the ovaries to stop working initially before 40 years old.
Also known as premature ovarian failure, POI affects one percent of the global women population. Recently, many women had resorted to egg donation to enable them to get pregnant.
"The only choice they have is to have egg donation or adoption," said Aaron Hsueh, the study's senior author. "We're trying to figure a way that patients can have their own mature eggs and have their own babies."
Video Source: Youtube/ stanfordmedicine
With more studies to ensure the success rate and safety of the IVA process for both mother and child, scientists believe the procedure could help 30 percent of the total global women population suffering from POI.
"We think it could help in two other forms of infertility, especially cancer survivors after chemotherapy or radiotherapy. If there's any follicles left, there's a chance this can help," Prof. Hsueh from Stanford told BBC.
"And also women aged 40 to 45 with an irregular menstrual cycle."
A second Japanese woman with POI was found pregnant using the same procedure. Scientists are currently monitoring her progress and the unborn child.
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