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This is how 3D printing ovaries made mice pregnantby Caroline Mckee and Jean-Sun Ahn
SciTech

WATCH | 3-D printed ovaries produce healthy offspring in mice. These scientists from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering have created 3-D ovaries. 

A tiny synthetic ovary could make a huge change for girls and women at risk for infertility. The Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and McCormick School of Engineering released a study where they removed a female mouse's ovary and replaced it with a 3-D printed bioprosthetic ovary.

The ovaries are created from bioprosthetic printed structures that house immature eggs, boost hormone production, and potentially restore fertility in mice. The mice using the 3-D printed ovary were able to ovulate, give birth to healthy pups, and nurse their young. 

Northwestern reports that the ovaries are created from bioprosthetic printed structures that house immature eggs, boost hormone production, and potentially restore fertility in mice. The mice using the 3-D printed ovary were able to ovulate, give birth to healthy pups, and nurse their young.

Teresa K. Woodruff, a reproductive scientist and director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at Feinberg said, “This research shows these bioprosthetic ovaries have long-term, durable function.”

Scientists say their objective behind the creation of this bioprosthetic is to be able to assist women fighting diseases like cancer that can experience diminished ovary function, resulting in an inability to undergo puberty, early menopause, and infertility.

“What happens with some of our cancer patients is that their ovaries don’t function at a high enough level and they need to use hormone replacement therapies in order to trigger puberty,” said Monica Laronda, co-lead author of this research and a former post-doctoral fellow in the Woodruff lab.

Currently, assisted reproductive technologies like in-vitro fertilization and ovarian transplants do not provide women with permanent solutions and leave adolescent patients with very limited options. 

The team that collaborated on this research was all female. And Ramille Shah, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at McCormick and of surgery at Feinberg, said it was motivational to be part of an all-female team doing research towards finding solutions to female health issues.