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Scientists 3D-Print Ovaries To Allow Infertile Mice To Mate and Give Birth (theguardian.com) 64

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Infertile mice have given birth to healthy pups after having their fertility restored with ovary implants made with a 3D printer. Researchers created the synthetic ovaries by printing porous scaffolds from a gelatin ink and filling them with follicles, the tiny, fluid-holding sacs that contain immature egg cells. In tests on mice that had one ovary surgically removed, scientists found that the implants hooked up to the blood supply within a week and went on to release eggs naturally through the pores built into the gelatin structures. The work marks a step towards making artificial ovaries for young women whose reproductive systems have been damaged by cancer treatments, leaving them infertile or with hormone imbalances that require them to take regular hormone-boosting drugs. Of seven mice that mated after receiving the artificial ovaries, three gave birth to pups that had developed from eggs released by the implants. The mice fed normally on their mother's milk and went on to have healthy litters of their own later in life. Writing in the journal Nature Communications, the scientists describe how they printed layered lattices of gelatin strips to make the ovary implants. The sizes and positions of the holes in the structures were carefully controlled to hold dozens of follicles and allow blood vessels to connect to the implants. Mature eggs were then released from the implants as happens in normal ovulation.

Scientists 3D-Print Ovaries To Allow Infertile Mice To Mate and Give Birth

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  • Poor Article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2017 @12:28AM (#54431697)

    How exactly was the gelatin engineered to respond to estrogen and release an egg only upon estrus? I'm guessing it wasn't, and this printed ovary just periodically released eggs. The article also contains this gem: "an ovary implant could also help cancer survivors whose eggs are so damaged that they need hormone replacement therapy to trigger puberty". My understanding is that eggs don't cause puberty; and this 'ovarian prosthetic' does nothing to grow new follicles, so if your eggs are damaged, you're still sterile.

    • File it with the one about the economist with a headline that suggested he said there would be no oil burning vehicles on the road in eight years - only he didn't.
      Headlines have to be short I suppose but so short they are misleading is a bit annoying.
    • The first article is basically a press release blurb. That second link? The one you ignored? That's the published paper which has the answers you chose to make assumptions about.

      It's like you're complaining an ad for a printer doesn't tell you how to install the drivers, while ignoring the manual it came with.

      From a brief skimming of the nature article, it's much more impressive than you for some reason assume. These are not just eggs, they're the follicle. The non-egg components of the follicle secre
  • Infertile females don't produce the "follicles, the tiny, fluid-holding sacs that contain immature egg cells" which are implanted. They would have to come from a fertile donor. Am I missing something?

    • Yes, you are missing something. The summary states: "In tests on mice that had one ovary surgically removed"; one would assume this is the source of the follicles. For infertile women, the follicles would have to come from someone else, depending on the exact reason they are infertile.
      • I didn't miss that, just discounted it as a reason for the research because women with one working ovary don't need two and infertile women can already use IVF with donated eggs.

        • by Calydor ( 739835 )

          Rome wasn't built in a day.

          You're missing the part where they've managed to build a WORKING OVARY from spare parts. Next up is learning to build the individual parts, ie. the follicles.

  • "I can haz moar mices???"

    - My Lazy, Overweight Cat -

    Like we don't have enough mice in the world...or people, for that matter.

  • Does that mean men can give birth too any time soon?

    Not saying I wish to bear children. But it'd stifle a few abject misandry opinions.

    • "Misandry" on Slashdot seems to typically mean "Thinks sexual harassment should be punished rather than tolerated in the 'tech' industry." So no, I don't think it would.

      Anyway, no, men cannot use this to have babies. You still need follicles to seed into the ovary, which you don't have. You'd also need a Fallopian tube and a uterus.
  • Yay the Feminist Dystopian Fantasy comes closer to reality! Men be gone!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Men-B-Gone ??
      I think Lady Ada sells the kit. It's similar to this.
      https://www.adafruit.com/product/73

    • How do you figure that? This is about restoring female reproductive equipment to its original spec, not modifying it for parthenogenesis.

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