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Rescuing Eggs

December 13, 2012

A substance called putrescine has the potential to boost fertility in women over 40.



H2O vs. infertility. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

One reason fertility tends to decline as women approach 40 is because a large percentage of their eggs are missing whole sections of genetic code. As a result, many embryos are miscarried or have birth defects. Dr. Johné Liu of theUniversityofOttawasays aging also corresponds with a drop in levels of a substance called putrescine, which is thought to be essential for cell division in mammals. He and his colleagues gave older female mice putrescine in their drinking water. As a result, the rate of genetic abnormalities in their eggs was cut in half. Liu hopes that putrescine could one day be turned into a pill to treat infertile women.

JOHNÉ LIU (University of Ottawa):

What that mean is that then you greatly increase the chance of an older woman producing an egg with normal chromosomes, and therefore a normal live embryo in pregnancy.


I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.