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3D-printed ovaries could one day help solve infertility in women

The way of the future is finally here. Researchers may have found a way to help women suffering with infertility.

The first reproduction of soft tissue using a 3D printer has been successful in an animal subject. This shows great promise for reproducing organs and tissue for humans who suffer from illness and even infertility.

Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, have negative side effects including damaged ovaries, and in turn, infertility. This is heartbreaking for many families across the globe. Luckily, scientists are researching a way of fixing these problems with just three things: a 3D printer, some gelatin, and mice.

Mice pup

Very recently, three litters of mice pups were born from 3D printed ovaries. On a small scale, this is a huge success for infertile mice, but on a larger scale, this may be the future of solving problems for families struggling to conceive.

A representative of the research team Teresa K. Woodruff said, “This research shows these bioprosthetic ovaries have long-term, durable function.” She also said that restoring damaged tissue through bioengineering is the “holy grail of bioengineering for regenerative medicine.”

Mice pup

Using gelatin to scaffold the ovaries is tricky. The gelatin is a fragile material that easily collapses. In previous trials, the gelatin became either too thin or too clumpy. However, in this research, a temperature was found that allowed the gelatin to stay stable.

This prospect does remain in the distant future, but it definitely shows some promise.

Via Seeker

About the author

Bronte is a media student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). She enjoys music, fitness, and exploring the city.

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