Can’t Get Pregnant? Maybe Your Eggs Just Need to Be Recharged
Infertility is frustrating. I mean, your body was biologically built to have babies, so why on earth is it rejecting every attempt at creating new life? You're healthy, you're strong, and you're ready for children, but something just isn't quite clicking.
Melissa (who asked for her last name to be omitted) explains her conception troubles in a very real way. “You just feel like your body's letting you down. And you don't know why and you don't know what you can do to fix that. It's just devastating.”
And as you know, the devastating effects of infertility aren't unique to Melissa. Infertility is a pretty widespread problem, and women all over are looking for any way they can to help them conceive. There are tons of options that work really well. I myself am a product of fertility medications, and I turned out pretty well (for the most part). But there are also women who have bodies that just don't seem to grasp the treatments.
Melissa's body just wasn't wanting to cooperate. She and her husband had been trying to get pregnant ever since they got married, but nothing worked. From there, they tried every sort of fertility treatment they could find, but she was told that it was impossible for her to get pregnant.
I'm sure that sentiment is not all that uncommon for some women — that there is no hope for conceiving a baby.
But from our neighbors to the north comes reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Robert Casper with a new procedure that will “jumpstart” a woman's reproductive system. The new procedure is called Augment, and it replaces the “dead batteries” in the ovaries. Essentially, every cell in existence has what are called mitochondria. These little guys are the things that give cells energy, kind of like batteries would your phone, your camera, or your baby monitor.
But what happens when you pull out your baby monitor for your newborn after the monitor has been sitting in storage for two or three years? The batteries (even though they may have been new when you put them in) have been sitting for some time and are usually close to worthless, so you're going to need a new set of batteries.
Dr. Casper thinks that mitochondria are the same way — sometimes the older mitochondria need to be replaced with newly charged ones. This article has the best explanation of how it all works out when a woman goes in for this procedure:
Doctors retrieve “a small piece of her ovary, so that doctors can extract mitochondria from the immature egg cells. In a separate procedure, doctors remove some of the woman's mature eggs from her ovaries. They then inject the young mitochondria into the eggs in the lab, along with sperm from the woman's partner; except for adding mitochondria to the mix, the process is the same one that's followed with standard in vitro fertilization. The resulting embryo can then be transferred into her womb.”
There are still some worry of some now-unknown side effects, but Melissa is currently pregnant with twins, and she's due in August.
What do you think about experimental procedures like this one? Do the benefits outweigh any possible risks?