The field of fertility medicine is ever evolving. Every day, researchers and physicians work to identify new ways of improving fertility treatment in order to help couples achieve their dream of starting a family. Egg augmentation is one of the newest ways of improving the success of fertility treatment for a group of women who have long been the hardest to treat.
A woman’s egg has two parts – the nucleus where her DNA is housed and the outer layer. This outer layer contains the mitochondria, which are the egg’s energy source. Mitochondria also have their own unique DNA, referred to as mDNA. As a woman ages, her egg quality declines. This decline also affects the mitochondria and the mDNA, which can hinder an embryo’s development due to insufficient energy.
Egg Augmentation and mDNA
Researchers are looking at ways to enhance egg quality in order to improve pregnancy success rates. One idea is to increase the amount of energy embryos have to develop, which is particularly an issue for individuals with egg quality issues or a low egg reserve.
Another method is to use stem cells from a woman’s ovaries.These stem cells can have the mitochondria harvested in order to obtain more, healthier mitochondria. This process begins with removing a section of ovarian tissue. The mitochondria are harvested and then injected into the egg along with the sperm at the time of fertilization. This process is thought to augment the egg’s energy supply with a woman’s own mitochondrial DNA.
Use of Egg Augmentation
The use of egg augmentation with a woman’s own mDNA is still in its infancy. A small number of fertility centers are beginning to offer this as a treatment option. As additional data becomes available about the effectiveness of the procedure and results are seen, the technique will grow in popularity. Although the procedure is still in its early stages, early results look very promising.
Dr. Zhang would love to hear from you and answer your questions about mDNA and egg augmentation. Please leave your comments to this article below. To schedule your initial consultation with the Doctor, simply call 917.525.5496.