Join us at TNW Conference 2022 for insights into the future of tech →

The heart of tech

This article was published on May 16, 2017

    Scientists 3D-print ovaries for mice — and they work

    Scientists 3D-print ovaries for mice — and they work
    Rachel Kaser
    Story by

    Rachel Kaser

    Internet Culture Writer

    Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback Rachel is a writer and former game critic from Central Texas. She enjoys gaming, writing mystery stories, streaming on Twitch, and horseback riding. Check her Twitter for curmudgeonly criticisms.

    Researchers at Northwestern University implanted infertile mice with 3D-printed ovaries, and those mice have successfully given birth to babies.

    The paper, published in Nature Communications, says these bioprosthetics were created to help people who have become infertile due to cancer treatments.

    The researchers used collagen-based gelatin as “ink” in the printer, and built the tissue in a lattice pattern similar to the structure of the ovaries. After building the tiny test set, they implanted them into nine mice, two of which were a control. Three of the mice with the new ovaries successfully birthed mice babies. The babies were allowed to have babies of their own when they were old enough, just to test their long-term health.

    The researchers acknowledge other benefits of repaired ovaries besides the ability to reproduce. For example, young women with damaged ovaries may undergo early menopause, or be unable to go through puberty at all.

    According to Wired, the researchers plan to move on to implanting 3D-printed ovaries into mini-pigs, and hope to have the gelatin organs available for clinical trial within five years.