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Giving Compass' Take:
• The Guardian reports on a recent medical breakthrough from researchers in Copenhagen, who were able to create an ovary in a lab — this may help women undergoing treatment for cancer overcome fertility problems.
• While such innovations are still in their nascent stage, this is a good reminder that funding science and research can often yield remarkable results. Find the people making bold discoveries and make sure they have money.
• Read about the women health advocates trying to end cervical cancer.
Doctors have made an “artificial ovary” from human tissue and eggs in a bid to help women have children after cancer treatment and other therapies that can damage female fertility.
The team in Copenhagen showed that a lab-made ovary could keep human eggs alive for weeks at a time, raising hopes that the approach could one day help women have families after harsh treatments such as chemo- and radiotherapy.
Implanted artificial ovaries might also help women with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and the blood disorder beta thalassaemia, which can require aggressive fertility-harming therapies, along with patients who go through an early menopause.
Women who face a cancer diagnosis can already have ovarian tissue removed and frozen before they have fertility-harming treatments. When they have the all-clear, the tissue is put back and the women can go on to have babies naturally.
For most patients the procedure is safe, but certain cancers, such as ovarian or leukaemia, can invade the ovarian tissue itself. This means that when frozen tissue is thawed and put back, there is a risk the disease will take hold again. For this reason, ovarian tissue freezing is rarely offered to high-risk patients.
Susanne Pors and others at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen believe artificial ovaries could be a safer option.
Read the full article on how artificial ovaries can help female cancer patients conceive by Ian Sample at The Guardian.