September 22, 2007
Freezable Ovary Tissues To Solve Egg Aging Problem

Some British fertility clinics expect within 5 years to offer ovary tissue freezing as a way to beat the egg aging problem.

The first stage of the technique involves removing slivers of ovarian tissue through keyhole surgery.

Although these would be just millimetres wide, each sample would contain thousands of immature eggs.

The ovarian tissue is then frozen until the woman is ready to try for a baby. At that time, it will be stimulated with hormone chemicals to grow the immature eggs into mature ones ready for IVF treatment.

Mind you, the fertility researchers working on this problem think they are still 5 years away from offering this as a service. But I wonder: Are they trying to solve problems associated with initial extraction and freezing? Or are they working on how to solve the later stage of how to thaw out and grow eggs to maturity? If the latter then a woman who gets some ovarian tissue frozen today can probably count on the technology 5 to 10 years hence to thaw out and create eggs from that frozen tissue. If your biological clock is ticking then taking the first step might already make sense.

Dr Alan Thornhill, scientific director of the Bridge Fertility Centre, said: "It would mean we have got a pool of thousands of eggs at very little risk to the woman and relatively low cost because you avoid the huge drug costs. Instead of having up to 10 eggs to work with, with this you can have lots of eggs without the risk of over-stimulation.

Some day women in their 20s might routinely get their ovary tissue frozen in order to guarantee future availability of youthful eggs which have few genetic mutations. This will certainly enable many women to make babies in middle age. But it doesn't solve all the problems created by aging reproductive systems and aging bodies. The uterus ages as does the rest of the body and that aging reduces the ability of women to bring babies to term and increases the risk of defects.

The researchers working on this problem at the British clinics Bridge Fertility Centre and Care Fertility clinic are chasing a big market of affluent professional thirty something women who hear their clocks ticking. These women either haven't yet found Mr. Right (he's probably unlisted in the phone book or living under an assumed name) or the women first want to arrive at a place in their careers where they feel financially secure enough to make babies.

In the medium term biotechnologies will be developed that can turn normal cells from anywhere in the body into eggs. Also, as part of the general drive to grow replacement organs techniques will be developed to grow replacement ovaries and even replacements for other reproductive organs. Going out 30 to 40 years full body rejuvenation will totally eliminate age-related limits on reproduction. Then population growth will then become a huge problem. That will necessitate government-mandated limits on reproduction.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2007 September 22 03:41 PM  Biotech Reproduction

HellKaiserRyo said at September 22, 2007 7:07 PM:

"That will necessitate government-mandated limits on reproduction."

Kurzweil says we will be able to experience virtual reality in about 30 years in the book The Singularity is Near (see pages 313-319). I suppose this would eliminate the necessity for one to engage in procreative sex though; we would be able to have sex anytime we want with anyone we want (and this may include hentai characters too) in virtual reality as nanobots will stimulate and inhibit neural firing.

I suppose that Catholic Church wouldn't like this though as they believe they etiological function of sex is for procreation.

HellKaiserRyo said at September 23, 2007 11:12 AM:

Meant to say "teleological" not "etiological"...

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