Skip to Content

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


This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

How do strong muscles keep your brain healthy?

There’s a robust molecular language being spoken between your muscles and your brain.

The quest to show that biological sex matters in the immune system

A handful of immunologists are pushing the field to take attributes such as sex chromosomes, sex hormones, and reproductive tissues into account.

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.