3D Ovaries: Creating a New Ray of Hope for Infertile Couples

According to the Teresa K Woodruff (Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute) “The holy grail of bioengineering for regenerative medicine”.

What is the Fuzz all about the 3D ovary?

Recently Researchers from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine & McCormick School of Engineering discovered gelatin based 3 D prosthetic ovaries. By this discovery, it has led to a revolution in the field of reproductive medicine. Before this 3D printed skin, bone scaffolds, ears, heart valves have been successfully implanted.

What is 3D gelatin based prosthetic ovary?

Researchers made synthetic ovaries by printing porous scaffolds from the gelatin ink thereby filling those pores with follicles (sac containing immature egg cells). The speciality of this 3D ovary is that it is has got long durability. Besides this, the material which formed 3 D ovary is the biological hydrogel which is composed of collagen safe enough to be used in humans.

Advantages of the prosthetic 3D ovary?

The main benefits of 3D gelatin based ovaries are as following:

  • Helps in boosting hormone production
  • Capacity to withstand high temperature (Temperature resistance)
  • Long term durable function
  • Material of ovary is broken down collagen which is safe to use in humans
  • Material is highly porous allowing easy interaction with the mouse’s body tissues
  • Distinct and self-supported geometry structure
  • Non-collapsible

How does a 3D ovary work?

When you look at the building, the scaffold supports all the materials which are required to repair the building. Same is the case with 3D printed ovary (scaffold/ skeleton) which is implanted into the female body. The pores of ovary highlights about the role of immature eggs or follicles get stuck within the skeleton framework. The matrix scaffold provides assistance to the survival of the mice follicles including the cells that boost hormones production requires for fertility. Apart from this, the open arrangement permits eggs to mature and undergo ovulation process. As a result, blood vessels allow the fertility hormones to flow within the bloodstream thereby triggering lactation in mice.

How will this 3D ovary benefit in Humans?

Chemotherapy and radiations destroy egg health of an individual. So, 3D printed ovaries can help those women whose eggs have been destroyed while undergoing cancer therapy. So, there is a chance of becoming fertile again in cancer patients. Women with low ovarian reserve may also benefit through this 3D bioprosthetic ovary. In the case of women more than 35 years of age, there is a lesser chance of attaining pregnancy, so it can aid in boosting fertility by increasing hormones and ovulation. Overall this discovery will one day surely be implemented on infertile which will be the revolution in the field of reproductive biology.

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