Improving Egg Quality
Egg Precursor Cells May Offer a Chance to Improve Egg Quality
It was long believed that women were born with a set number of eggs that die over time; however in the early 1990s, researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital discovered a source of new eggs within a woman’s ovary called egg precursor (EggPCSM) cells. EggPC cells may have the potential to develop into young, fertilizable eggs. New fertility treatments using these EggPC cells may potentially help supplement the energy in a woman’s eggs, expand her egg reserve and help her produce new eggs for use in IVF.1,2
Mitochondria from EggPC cells could help rejuvenate aging or poor quality eggs
Mitochondria are structures that produce energy for the cell. In other words, they are the batteries that power cell division and growth. Without sufficient levels of energy, an egg will not be capable of developing from a single cell into an embryo ready to implant into a woman’s uterus. 1,2
EggPC cells were discovered in the outer protective lining of the ovary where there is a reduced blood supply. The reduced blood supply to the outer lining helps protect EggPC cells from significant exposure to environmental toxins or other metabolic byproducts that may cause DNA or cellular damage.3,4
When researchers looked at the mitochondria within EggPC cells, they found that their structure was very similar—in fact, nearly identical—to the mitochondria present within mature eggs. This makes EggPC cells an ideal source of mitochondria to supplement the existing energy of a woman’s own egg during IVF.
By adding fresh mitochondria from a woman’s own EggPC cells to her poor quality or unhealthy eggs, the energy levels within her eggs may potentially improve her egg quality and embryo development.*5-8
* Studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, including Molecular Human Reproduction (1998), Human Cell (2004), Electronic Journal of Biology (2005), Reproduction Research (2006), Human Reproduction (2001) and Reproductive Biomedicine (2011), involved a number of species, including humans, in which third-party scientists demonstrated that the addition of mitochondria to eggs increased cellular energy levels, egg quality and the likelihood of fertilization and healthy live births.
- Wai T, Ao A, Zhang X, Cyr D, Dufort D, Shoubridge EA. The role of mitochondrial DNA copy number in mammalian fertility. Biol Reprod. 2010 Jul; 83(1): 52–62.
- St. John JC, Facucho-Oliveira J, Jiang Y, Kelly R, Salah R. Mitochondrial DNA transmission, replication and inheritance: a journey from the gamete through the embryo and into offspring and embryonic stem cells. Hum Reprod Update. 2010 Sept; 16(5), 488–509.
- White YA, Woods DC, Takai Y, Ishihara O, Seki H, Tilly JL. Oocyte formation by mitotically active germ cells purified from ovaries of reproductive-age women. Nat Med. 2012 Feb 26; 18(3): 413-421.
- Johnson J, Canning J, Kaneko T, Pru JK, Tilly JL. Germ-line stem cells and follicular renewal in the postnatal mammalian ovary. Nature. 2004 Marc; 428: 145-150.
- Tzeng CR, Hsieh RH, Au HK, Yen YH, Chang SJ, Cheng YF. Mitochondria transfer (MIT) into oocyte from autologous cumulus granulosa cells (cGCs). Fertil Steril. 82(2): S53.
- Cohen J, Scott R, Alikani M, et al. Ooplasmic transfer in mature human oocytes. Mol Human Reprod. 1998 Mar; 4(3): 269-280.
- Lanzendorf, SE, Mayer J, Toner J, Oehninger S, Saffan DS, Muasher S. Pregnancy following transfer of ooplasm from cryopreserved-thawed donor oocytes into recipient oocytes. Fertil Steril. 1999 Mar; 71(3): 575-577.
- Levron J, Willadsen, S, Bertoli M, Cohen J. The development of mouse zygotes after fusion with synchronous and asynchronous cytoplasm. Hum Reprod. 1996 June; 11(6): 1287-1292.