July 09, 2015
DENVER – Can infertile women have a baby with their own eggs?
By: Kyle Dyer
Yes, according to Dr. William Schoolcraft, the founder of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.
“This is sort of a revolutionary concept,” Schoolcraft said. “In the past, it was thought that menopause meant no eggs.”
The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine is currently looking for women under 40 who are unable to have children because of primary ovarian insufficiency to partake in a study of in-vitro follicle activation.
Primary ovarian insufficiency is the term for when women have a low number of eggs in their ovaries. It is a leading cause of infertility among women.
Schoolcraft says women are born with a million eggs and even when they’re going into menopause, there’s a few thousand eggs left in the ovaries. He says those eggs are in an immature state where they can’t grow and ovulate.
“Those last few thousand eggs won’t come out, won’t ovulate, so the woman’s ovaries act like they’re not working,” Schoolcraft said. “But you can see eggs in the ovaries if you look with a microscope. They are there.”
The in-vitro activation helps stimulate the immature follicles in the ovaries.
IVA requires one ovary to be laparoscopically removed and treated outside of the body. The ovary is re-implanted near the woman’s fallopian tubes.
The women in the study would then be treated with hormones to stimulate the growth of the immature follicles and prompt the release of eggs which could lead to pregnancy.
CCRM reports this is the only active study of its kind taking place in the U.S. It has been approved by the Institutional Review Board.
Schoolcraft is partnering with infertility specialists from Stanford University and Japan, who pioneered the IVA procedure.
An initial IVA study in Japan involved 37 women in 2013. Researcher collected mature eggs from in-vitro fertilization from six of the women Two of the women had successful pregnancies and now have children.
Schoolcraft admits this is aggressive and experimental, but he’s excited about the positive outcomes.
“For patients where their only option is donor egg but they’re just hoping to try one last thing with their own biological material, this is a way for them to have a baby with their own genetics,” Schoolcraft said.