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Oogonial stem cells: do they exist and may they have an impact on future fertility treatment?


Germline stem cell research over the last decade has brought into question one of the basic tenets of reproductive biology that women are born with a finite number of oocytes without the potential for renewal. Evidence for the existence of oogonial stem cells in the postnatal ovary has gained momentum, but skepticism remains.Several research studies claimed that they have identified functional oogonial stem cells in the postnatal ovary of several different species including humans. The scientific community has questioned both the methods and significance of these studies.Many speculate that germline stem cells could make a significant impact on the treatment of female infertility. However, this field of research is still in its infancy. There is still much to learn about the biology of oogonial stem cells and their potential clinical application. More research is needed before oogonial stem cells can become a viable treatment modality for women with infertility.