For women, fertility begins to decline throughout one’s 30s, ultimately reaching a point where pregnancy may no longer be possible in one’s 40s. This loss of fertility is due to poor egg quality, something that has become particularly concerning in developed nations where women are waiting until older ages in order to get pregnant. According to a new study, reversing the clock on aging eggs may be as simple as taking an oral compound.
The primary cause of loss of fertility in women is poor egg quality, a consequence of aging. This change is caused by low levels of a molecule found in cells, according to a new study from the University of Queensland, where researchers found that feeding older female mice a precursor compound for the molecule ‘dramatically’ restored egg quality in the mice.
The precursor compound is called nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) and it was administered to the mice in their drinking water for four weeks. During this trial, the researchers found that NMN resulted in more live births compared to births from mice that didn’t receive the compound.
Team lead Professor Hayden Homer explained:
Our findings suggest there is an opportunity to restore egg quality and in turn female reproductive function using oral administration of NAD-boosting agents – which would be far less invasive than IVF. It is important to stress, however, that although promising, the potential benefits of these agents remains to be tested in clinical trials.
It’s important to note that the study involved mice who received low doses of this compound; additional research would be necessary to determine whether humans will experience the same benefits. The findings are promising, however, indicating that NMN may be a potential way to restore fertility and reduce the need for egg donation and IVF treatments.