So the debate rolls on. How old is too old to start a family? Many luddites will tell you that it is natural to lose your fertility. They will argue that after age 50 or so, a woman’s body is just not capable of nurturing or producing a healthy offspring. Many in this camp say that a woman will be far too old to care for a teen well into their middle age years. Is this a correct assessment? Even if technology can restore a woman’s ovaries to produce her own natural egg supply, should we actually do it?
For over a century now, the dogma has been that a woman produces all of the eggs she will ever have at birth. This seems to have been incorporated into our culture when we make judgements about women. Individually, women have always had this sort of ticking time clock, ticking away, sometimes deafeningly so, resulting in a rush to find the perfect partner. What if that partner doesn’t come along so quickly? What if career and another purpose supersedes this fundamental biological drive? What if a woman runs out of time? Well, first that woman may have to deal with the psychological implications of being harshly judged by other women. It is in our DNA, after all, to want to carry our genes into the future. What could be wrong with a woman who does not answer nature’s call on time? She may have just run out of luck.
As stated earlier, conventional wisdom speaks to the fact that a woman simply “runs out” of eggs. Or does she?
“About 13 years ago, Northeastern professor Jonathan Tilly, a reproductive biologist, made a discovery that challenged everything scientists thought they knew about female reproduction. The long-held belief that mammals were born with a set number of eggs—and no ability to create new ones—was wrong.” *
Precursor stem cells found in the ovarian walls proved that this was not the case. This finding was reproduced over and over again, in labs around the globe. It was not that those egg cells ran out, it was that age related decline appeared to be responsible for the production of oocytes, and as this damage accumulated, the ovaries would shut down. This research was a game changer. Not only did it upend conventional dogma, but it offered clues as to ways to halt or slow the aging process itself. And many scientists are now saying that it is a matter of when, not if, we can slow or even reverse the aging process in humans. Since the reproductive system is one of the first of all of the body’s systems to break down in women – due to age related damages – we now may have the opportunity to intervene.
Additionally, there is some mystery that still surrounds how bone loss and heart disease is related to declining levels in estrogen and progesterone. Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass.
“Estrogen is important to new bone production because it supports osteoblasts, which are bone-producing cells. Without estrogen, osteoblasts can’t produce enough new bone, and eventually, because of this, the effects of osteoclasts (bone-absorbing cells) can weaken bones.” **
We are rapidly gaining more and more clues to restore female fertility and youthful hormone levels. In restoring these hormones with ovarian rejuvenation, we can help prevent hot flashes, bone loss and heart disease as well. As regenerative medicine continues to come up with ways to restore humans at a cellular and atomic level, we may begin to see the diseases of aging fall away. If we continue to address heart disease and bone loss as individual conditions, and not as part of the systemic breakdown of cellular and age related damage, then perhaps we will never solve these mysteries.
The root cause of ovarian failure is proving increasingly more likely to be caused by age related factors at a cellular level. Repairing and restoring the system will also restore health and vitality to those who choose to take these therapies. The number of candles on a birthday cake will no longer be an indicator of what is an acceptable maternal age – after all, if you are biologically as youthful and healthy as a 25 year old, than age may finally be just a number.
To learn more watch this video:
or go to
Author: Kelly Martin
L+ Magazine 2018