New Study May Offer Insights into Age Related Infertility

New Study May Offer Insights into Age Related Infertility

Researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) have found slow moving chromosomes in mouse egg cell division may contribute to genetically abnormal mouse eggs.  This research may offer insights regarding age related infertility and declining egg quality with age in women.

What is Female Infertility?

Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after 12 months of unprotected sex in women under the age of 35 years or within 6 months for women aged 35 years and older. Infertility affects up to 15% of couples.

Because fertility in women is known to decline steadily with age, women older than 35 years should have evaluation and treatment if they have not conceived in 6 months. Women aged 40 years or older or women with conditions known to cause infertility such as endometriosis or PCOS should be offered immediate evaluation.

Ovarian reserve is the term for the number of eggs available for potential fertilization at any given point in time. Egg numbers decrease at a rapid rate as women age. As aging occurs, egg quality, or the likelihood of an egg being genetically normal — dramatically decreases.

Study Shows Lagging Chromosomes Cause of Age-Related Infertility in Mice

In a study published in the journal Developmental Cell, CRCHUM researchers Greg FitzHarris and Aleksandar Mihajlovic, found aged mouse eggs (oocytes) have some chromosomes that are slower to move during meiosis — a critical phase of cell division. These slower chromosomes contribute to an uneven distribution of chromosomes in the egg. This abnormality, called aneuploidy, is one of the major causes of age-related infertility. Because they are slower, FitzHarris calls them ‘lagging chromosomes.’ Arriving late at their destination, they contribute to the formation of cells with an abnormal number of chromosomes

“Our data thus reveal lagging chromosomes to be a cause of age-related aneuploidy in mouse oocytes and suggest that manipulating the cell cycle could increase the yield of useful oocytes in some contexts.”

To learn more about age related infertility and egg quality and speak to one of our physicians about fertility treatments, please request a consultation here.

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