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New Hope for Women Lacking Functional Eggs in Their Ovaries Who Want to Have Their Own Baby

The US Patent Office has allowed application 11/473,910 for a method to grow oocytes (eggs) from a woman’s ovaries even if the ovaries are no longer producing oocytes. With conventional IVF (in vitro fertilization), unless a woman supplies her own eggs, the baby is not genetically related to her. For the first time, this technology allows a woman who is not making eggs to have a baby that is genetically related to her.

Gladwyne, PA, July 13, 2012 --( Patent to Issue for a Method for Producing Oocytes (eggs) from Anovulatory Ovaries

The United States Patent Office issued on May 23, 2012 a Notice of Allowance for application 11/473,910 which contains claims for a method in which cells from a woman’s ovaries are grown in culture and oocytes (eggs) develop from the ovarian surface epithelial (OSE) cells, even if the cells obtained from the ovaries do not include any oocytes. As stated in the claims of the patent, the method is applicable even if the woman’s ovaries do not have any viable oocytes.

Before the development of this technology, the options were few for women of child bearing age suffering from premature menopause or for women of advanced age without eggs suitable for IVF who want to get pregnant and have a baby. A woman might adopt a baby, in which case the baby would not be genetically related to either the woman or to her husband. Or, she might undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) in which an oocyte from a donor is fertilized and then transferred into the woman’s uterus. Even with successful conventional IVF, the baby would be genetically related to her husband but would not be genetically related to her.

Conventional IVF utilizing a woman’s own ovarian eggs is generally not performed in women over the age of 40 years due to the high failure rate of IVF and the high incidence of fetal abnormalities that occur when using a woman’s aged eggs. In contrast, the method of Ovacyte LLC’s soon-to-be issued patent provides eggs that are freshly developed from OSE cells in culture, regardless of the age of the woman.

Most importantly, what conventional IVF cannot do is to provide genetically related children to a woman lacking the ability to produce her own functional ovarian eggs. These women include young women who are rendered sterile following chemotherapy associated with egg loss and women with premature ovarian failure.

This problem is solved by the development of fresh eggs from OSE cells in culture. Eggs developed this way have been shown to produce embryos after fertilization and therefore are capable to be utilized for IVF procedures. The method is simple and straightforward and may be performed by an IVF lab in concert with a hospital OB/GYN department.

Now that this patent has been allowed, a technology exists that provides a way for a woman who is no longer producing her own viable eggs to have a baby that is genetically related to her. The method will not work for all women. In order to be successful, the ovaries must contain a particular cell type known as OSE cells. Only an examination of a woman’s ovaries can determine if the proper cells are present. However, most ovaries of women in premature menopause, or from women over the age of 40 years, contain OSE cells.

This technology will require further testing before clinical use. The inventors have formed a company, Ovacyte LLC, with the goal of bringing this technology to reality. Ovacyte LLC is currently looking for one or more corporate partners to aid in this effort.

Ovacyte LLC

Contact: Howard Eisenberg

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Ovacyte LLC, please send Howard Eisenberg an email at
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Ovacyte LLC
Howard Eisenberg

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