Ovarian Rejuvenation may be a way to turn back the fertility clock for women. A number of centres around the world have been performing this procedure, including the USA, Greece, Japan, Spain and Poland. In some cases, this experience goes back to around 2010. There are a number of treatment approaches being used including the Inovium, OFFA and OvaPrime techniques.
These treatments are aimed at activating precursor egg cells (oocytes), which are called stem cells.The general role of stem cells in the body is to morph into any type of cell, and this includes eggs. Stem cell have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialised function, such as a muscle cell, or a brain cell, and in this case, a new egg.
The presence of stem cells in the ovaries and their transformation into mature oocytes (eggs) has been demonstrated in mice by Harvard researchers. They have also been shown to be present in the human ovary, so it is possible that these precursor cells can be transformed into eggs by growth factors that are present in an individual's own blood. Injections of growth factors are used in other types of medical treatments, are made from a patient’s own blood and is called PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) Therapy.
There are now publications appearing that support both an increase in egg numbers, and in IVF, an improvement in embryo quality.
This is an exciting development in regard to ovarian rejuvenation.
The scientific basis for ovarian rejuvenation is in a patient’s blood. The fluid of blood contains substances called growth factors, which the body normally produces in order to heal both internal and external injuries. Growth factors cause the growth of new cells in tissues by the activation of stem cells that are normally found in all parts of the human body. Under the proper biological stimulus, stem cells can mature into any type of cell in the human body.
Dr Knight has been following this technology since 2013 and commenced performing ovarian rejuvenation in 2017 after information was released on interim results from the San Diego group’s experience. He is currently using the Inovium approach. The Inovium™ Procedure theoretically transforms stem cells into eggs by growth factors contained in the individual’s own blood contents after injections into the ovary. These growth factors are isolated from a patient’s own blood and blood cells and the fluid obtained is called PRP (platelet rich plasma).
“The discovery and understanding on ovarian stem cells has sweeping implications. One is the possibility of harnessing them to produce an unlimited number of eggs. For women struggling with fertility, this might change everything,” explains Dr Knight.
Dr Knight's use of the original Inovium approach is evolutionary. The treatment program is evolving and with ongoing data collection and individual patient responses, further interventional processes are developing to maximise the chance of improved ovarian response and function. For some, the program may be short where reproductive monitoring shows a rapid response in ovarian function. However people being people, not everyone responds as desired. In these circumstances, the program involves a series of additional treatments, again with ongoing assessment for improvement in the function of the ovaries.
Dr Knight is currently offering this approach for women who are in good physical health and fall into one or more of the following patient categories:
The main potential benefit of this procedure is the possibility of achieving a pregnancy using the patient’s own eggs, which had not been possible or very unlikely prior to the development of these types of procedures. Since late 2015, fertility doctors in Greece have conducted preclinical trials using Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to rejuvenate the ovaries of menopausal women, restore fertility and pursue pregnancy. They report that of the over 60 women aged 45-64 who have received the treatment so far:
These results are similar to those seen in women in their early 40s undertaking IVF, and quite remarkable given these women had perviously been menopausal.
Dr Knight performs these procedures at Waratah Private Hospital in Hurstville, Sydney, Australia. For interstate and international patients, Dr Knight’s Hurstville rooms are a 5 minute walk from the Hurstville train station. This station is on the T4 line. The Sydney Airport stations are one and two stops from the T4 line and Hurstville is two stops on the fast service from the Sydney CBD, just 15 minutes.