Ovary stem cell treatment could 'help early menopause women'

Women who go through the menopause early could be helped to conceive children by a pioneering stem cell treatment scientists have developed.

Researchers in Cairo, Egypt, have come up with a way of restoring the ability of ovaries to produce eggs using cells developed in the lab.

This could offer hope to the thousands of women who experience the menopause early.

In the UK, the average age for a woman to reach the menopause is 52. If she experiences it under the age of 45 she considered to have gone through it early, according to the NHS.

Early menopause causes the ovaries to stop producing eggs sooner than normal, leaving the woman infertile prematurely.

In a study carried out on rats, scientists created a special stem cell, called a Mesenchymal cell, which comes from rat embryos.

These were implanted into female rats which had been induced to suffer ovarian failure.

Within two weeks, the rats' ovaries were working properly and, within two months, their hormone levels were back at normal.

Professor Osama Azmy, study leader, said: "This work shows that Mesenchymal Stem Cells can restore ovarian function. The treated ovaries returned to producing eggs and hormones, and we could detect the presence of the stem cells within the newly functioning ovaries."