Mice Birth Pups From Artificial Ovaries

3-D-printed ovaries allow infertile mice to give birth.

By Katherine KorneiFeb 1, 2018 6:00 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
Researchers implanted 3-D-printed ovaries into sterile female mice that later gave birth. Eggs housed in the ovaries were engineered to glow green under certain light to make the pupseasier to spot. | Northwestern University

3-D printing is now tackling fertility. A team from Northwestern University showed that mice implanted with 3-D-printed ovaries can birth healthy offspring — a medical first that paves the way to scale up the bioprosthetics for humans.

The group printed the organs by overlapping pieces of biocompatible gelatin — think of stacking Lincoln Logs. Then, researchers inserted up to 50 follicles into each ovary. These structures produce hormones and also contain eggs. Next, they implanted two ovaries each in seven sterile mice, and mated them with male mice. After a normal gestation of roughly three weeks, three females gave birth to healthy litters.

The study, published in Nature Communications in May, also noted that the new moms lactated, evidence of the follicles’ normal hormone production. Though still a long way off, the team hopes similar methods for humans could allow cancer survivors facing chemotherapy-induced infertility to become mothers.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month

Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

1 free articleSubscribe
Discover Magazine Logo
Want more?

Keep reading for as low as $1.99!


Already a subscriber?

Register or Log In

More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

To The Magazine

Save up to 40% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2023 Kalmbach Media Co.