Nitric oxide a potential boon to fertility and IVF

Another amazing use for one of my favorite substances to write about, nitric oxide. It’s been receiving accolades in such varied uses as treating impotence and preventing artheriosclerosis. Now scientists are finding that nitric oxide may help women stay fertile longer–a huge plus for today’s generation of women who want to have it all–education, career success, and family–and often delay trying to get pregnant well into the 30s.

While working on a project involving in vitro fertilization, I got intimately acquainted with the difficulties many women encounter around fertility. This research has focused on mouse eggs, which are known to age rapidly if not fertilized quickly–and the article says “results suggest that nitric oxide could help prevent chromosome errors during early embryonic development…[that] can lead to Down syndrome, spontaneous miscarriages and other problems associated with pregnancies later in life.”

Great news–and of course, they also have to make sure that exposing to NO to extend fertility doesn’t introduce its own set of abnormalities. In science, as in tabletop puzzles, we can never trust that the piece will stand alone.