Making a good egg: Human oocyte health, aging and in vitro development

Evelyn E Telfer, Johanne Grosbois, Yvonne Odey, Roseanne Rosario, Richard Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Mammalian eggs (oocytes) are formed during fetal life and establish associations with somatic cells to form primordial follicles that create a store of germ cells (the primordial pool). The size of this pool is influenced by key events during the formation of germ cells and by factors that influence the subsequent activation of follicle growth. These regulatory pathways must ensure that the reserve of oocytes within primordial follicles in humans lasts for up to 50 years, yet only approximately 0.1% will ever be ovulated with the rest undergoing degeneration. This review outlines the mechanisms and regulatory pathways that govern the processes of oocyte and follicle formation and later growth, within the ovarian stroma, through to ovulation with particular reference to human oocytes/follicles. In addition, the effects of aging on female reproductive capacity through changes in oocyte number and quality are emphasized, with both the cellular mechanisms and clinical implications discussed. Finally, details of current developments in culture systems that support all stages of follicle growth to generate mature oocytes in vitro, and emerging prospects for making new oocytes from stem cells are outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages125
JournalPhysiological reviews
Early online date12 May 2023
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • ovary
  • oocyte maturation
  • meiosis
  • reproductive aging
  • follicle culture
  • stem cells
  • oocyte
  • ovarian follicle
  • in vitro growth


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