Skip to Content
Biotechnology and health

The first lab-grown human eggs could help fight infertility

February 9, 2018

The precursors to human eggs have been grown to full maturity outside the body for the first time.

The news: By carefully controlling conditions like oxygen levels and nutrients, as well as variables such as the surfaces on which precursor cells are grown, researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the UK coaxed these cells into fully developed eggs in 22 days. Usually it takes five months in the body.

Why it matters:  As the BBC notes, it could enable young female cancer sufferers who are made infertile by chemotherapy to later use their own eggs during IVF. It also gives researchers a rare chance to study how eggs develop.

But: While the eggs reached maturity, it’s unclear if they’re healthy, or whether they can be properly fertilized into an embryo. Those experiments are next on the researchers’ to-do list, though such tests will need approval and, for ethical reasons, will study only the very first stages of development.

Deep Dive

Biotechnology and health

How scientists traced a mysterious covid case back to six toilets

When wastewater surveillance turns into a hunt for a single infected individual, the ethics get tricky.

An AI-driven “factory of drugs” claims to have hit a big milestone

Insilico is part of a wave of companies betting on AI as the "next amazing revolution" in biology

Google helped make an exquisitely detailed map of a tiny piece of the human brain

A small brain sample was sliced into 5,000 pieces, and machine learning helped stitch it back together.

There is a new most expensive drug in the world. Price tag: $4.25 million

But will the latest gene therapy suffer the curse of the costliest drug?

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.