Women may make new eggs throughout their reproductive years—challenging a longstanding tenet that females are born with finite supplies, a new study says. The discovery may also lead to new avenues for improving women’s health and fertility.
A woman has two ovaries, which release eggs during her monthly ovulation. Previous research had suggested that a woman is born with all the egg cells she will ever have in her lifetime.
But in recent experiments, scientists discovered a new type of stem cell in the ovaries that—when grown in the lab—generates immature egg cells. The same immature cells isolated from adult mouse ovaries can turn into fertile eggs.
What’s more, scientists down the road could potentially use a woman’s egg stem cells to create an “unlimited supply” of eggs, which could improve or even replace difficult fertility treatments. Learn more here.