Do You Want to Get Pregnant in Your Forties?

A new study found a hormone that might help prepare the womb lining for pregnancy.

A new study from the University of Edinburgh published in Fertility and Sterility found a hormone that might help prepare the womb lining for pregnancy. It helps prime cells for implantation, which is when a fertilized egg attaches to the womb lining. The researchers tested the tissue of women in their forties, which is generally considered to be towards the end of a woman's reproductive life. The women were going through unrelated surgeries but were otherwise healthy. Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a hormone that is prevalent throughout the body and has many uses. They lined the donated womb tissue with it to test how it would affect their fertility. The exact makeup of the womb lining necessary to fertility is still unknown, but researchers did find that DHEA doubled the levels of some of the proteins that are necessary for implantation. DHEA levels are known to severely decrease as people age, and as such might help explain why fertility also decreases as humans age. "A fertilized egg will implant only if the conditions are just right and we were excited to see that DHEA and androgens might help improve this environment in cells," said Dr. Douglas Gibson, who is from the MCR Centre for Inflammation Research at the University of Edinburgh and was the lead researcher of this study. He continued, "The findings will help us develop studies for potential therapies but more research is needed before we can tell if this approach could be used to help women who are struggling to conceive." While the researchers do caution that it is far too early in their work to tell if this will have any significant effect on the fertility of older couples. Hopefully, this will be helpful for future researchers who decide to work off of this, and there's always a chance that it will become an effective treatment in the not too distant future!

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