A 3-D printed bioprosthetic ovary, engineered from a combination of biomaterials and ovarian cells was created and implanted into female mice that previously had their ovaries removed was a successful experiment. The mice were able to become pregnant and give birth to pups. Researchers found the initial results to be promising.
This technique will possibly be used in the future in humans, to restore fertility and hormone function in cancer survivors or to offer options for women who have a condition called primary ovarian insufficiency, but much more experimentation will be necessary continuing studies over several years before the technique can be fully adapted. "A successful human bioprosthetic could have a wide range of applications," said Dr. Monica Loranda, researcher at Northwestern University, the lead author of the study published now in Nature Communications. The 3-D printed bioprosthetic ovary, as it's termed, is "the holy grail of bioengineering for regenerative medicine," said Teresa K. Woodruff, a reproductive scientist and director of the Women's Health Research Institute at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.