TOKYO, JAPAN : Kaguya, the fatherless mouse at the Tokyo University of Agriculture lab in Tokyo on April 23, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan. Kaguya, a fatherless mouse created by a group of researchers chiefly from Japan and South Korea. They have succeeded in creating a fatherless mouse without sperm. (Photo by koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
Koichi Kamoshida—Getty

3-D Printed Ovaries Are Helping Mice to Get Pregnant

May 17, 2017

A recent study by Northwestern University showed that mice were able to get pregnant with 3-D printed ovaries — a development that could help lead to advances in restoring fertility and hormone production in women who have survived cancer.

After replacing their ovaries with 3-D printed copies, the mice were able to ovulate, give birth and nurse their young, according to the study published in Nature Communications.

"What happens with some of our cancer patients is that their ovaries don't function at a high enough level and they need to use hormone replacement therapies in order to trigger puberty," said Monica Laronda, a co-lead author of the study.

The 3-D printed structures used in the study were able to fulfill their goal to restore fertility and hormone production in the mice. Much more research is needed to determine if this approach can be used successfully in humans.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.