University offers women new option for infertility treatment


A medical university in Kawasaki has started a new treatment that will activate dormant egg-producing cells in women’s ovaries and bring them to maturity, offering another option for infertile women.

In a clinical study conducted by St. Marianna University School of Medicine Hospital, dormant egg-producing cells are matured by first cultivating them in a special solution. The solution contains a substance that inactivates a protein inhibiting the cells’ maturity.

After the egg is transplanted in the fallopian tube and allowed to grow for as long as one year, it will be removed for fertilization and returned to the uterus.

The procedure will help women with fertility problems, such as those under 40 who undergo premature menopause, which happens to about one in 100 women due to the diminishing of primordial follicles in the ovaries.

A team at the hospital led by Bumpei Ishizuka and others has received approval for the new treatment by St. Marianna University and the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The team has already taken activated eggs from women in their 30s to 40s undergoing premature menopause.

Kazuhiro Kawamura, an associate professor at the university, published in a science journal in 2010 the results of a study confirming that a matured egg can be generated by the activation of human ovarian tissues. Researchers at Stanford University, who jointly conducted the study with Kawamura, also succeeded in maturing activated mouse egg cells.