Women could be mothers at FIFTY: Israeli scientists claim they can now 'reverse' ageing in eggs - freetxp

Women could be mothers at FIFTY: Israeli scientists claim they can now ‘reverse’ ageing in eggs

Becoming a mother at age 50 could be the norm within the next decade, say scientists who have successfully ‘reverse-aged’ human eggs.

In a world first, Israeli researchers made eggs from a 40-year-old woman similar to those of 20-year-olds by treating them with antiviral medication.

Women are born with all of their eggs, but they deteriorate over time making it more difficult for older eggs to be fertilised.

While the average female in her early 20s has a more than 80 per cent chance of falling pregnant, his drops to just 26 per cent by the age of 40.

Just a few hundred women in the UK become mothers in their 50s each year.

But scientists at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, have shown this could be reversed with an antiviral used to treat HIV and HPV patients.

It is thought to work by preventing DNA damage that happens during the ageing process with a drug that blocks genetic damage during viral infections.

There are still questions about whether the process can boost fertility rates, because the study did not expose the eggs to sperm.

But the team now plan to test this on animals then eventually humans.

Scientists at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, exposed human embryos to an antiviral drug and found it repaired many genetic errors - making them like those of a woman in her 20s (stock)

Scientists at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, exposed human embryos to an antiviral drug and found it repaired many genetic errors - making them like those of a woman in her 20s (stock)

Scientists at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, exposed human embryos to an antiviral drug and found it repaired many genetic errors – making them like those of a woman in her 20s (stock)

What are some of the risks of having a baby later in life?

The number of older mothers has soared in recent decades, as more women concentrate on their career and start families later.

But doctors tend to warn women not to leave it too late to have children. They stress that with age fertility drops and their risk of complications, including stillbirths, increases.

Experts estimate women in their late forties have as little as a one in 20 chance of becoming pregnant because of their lower supply of eggs, which are less capable of being fertilized.

The British Fertility Society previously warned celebrities who have children in their 40s are giving women false hope about late motherhood.

Chairman Adam Balen said celebrities who paraded ‘miracle babies’ will often have used IVF or donor eggs, both of which can cost thousands of pounds.

Because they do not make this public, their fans fail to realise the fertility issues and health problems that may result.

Demand for donor eggs, one of the most common methods for older women to have a baby, have soared in recent years.

Other options include IVF, if the woman still has some of her own eggs, or even intrauterine insemination – when sperm is directly placed into the uterus using a catheter.

Fertility drugs and surgery are two other possibilities.

During the ageing process in an egg parts of its DNA can start attacking other areas in a similar way to how viruses attack the genetic code.

To stop this, the scientists theorised that an antiviral called a reverse-transcriptase inhibitor used to prevent DNA damage in viral infections could help.

Dr Michael Klustein, the molecular biologist who led the research, told the Times of Israel: ‘Many women are trying to get pregnant aged 40 and over, and we think this could actually increase their level of fertility.

‘Within 10 years, we hope to use antiviral drugs to increase fertility among older women.

‘This may help women between the ages of 40 and 50. After that, we hit the menopause.’

He added: ‘Because the attacking DNA behaves like a virus, we hypothesised that antiviral medicine administered to eggs may reverse age them and rejuvenate them, and found in our lab that this is the case.

‘We tested hundreds of mouse eggs and then human eggs, which confirmed the hypothesis.’

The drug was first tested on hundreds of mice embryos, before being used on leftover human embryos from IVF treatments.

The scientists stress they have not yet tested introducing sperm to the treated eggs, so have not proved whether it enhances fertility.

Women are now having children later than ever in the West.

In the UK, the average age of first time mothers is now 29 years old — compared to 23 in the 1970s — with many delaying having children into their 30s.

In the US, it has risen from 21 to 26 years old.

The change is believed to be due to more women prioritising their careers, as well as changes to society and financial concerns.

But the chances of falling pregnant drop as women age.

Studies suggest it is as low as five per cent once a woman is more than 40 years old.

To get around this, many women are now having eggs frozen when they are younger in preparation for fertility treatment later in life.

About 50,000 women use fertility treatment every year in the UK, while in the US it is more than 90,000.

Sucess rates are about 25 per cent — or one in four embryos — for women aged between 35 and 37 years old. For those under 35, rates are about 32 per cent.

The study was published in the journal Aging Cell.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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