Mitochondria

Definition - What does Mitochondria mean?

Mitochondria are structures within a cell that produce a molecule that provides the cell with a source of energy. This molecule is known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The number of copies of mitochondria within a cell depends on the energy requirement of that cell.

Mitochondria are important for ovarian cell maturation, fertilization, and preimplantation development and are indicators of the health of the cell. If the quality of these cells is compromised, infertility, embryo loss, and developmental disorders in which mitochondrial dysfunction plays an important role have been associated.

FertilitySmarts explains Mitochondria

Mitochondrial dysfunction associated with infertility have been shown in women affected by diseases or metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity as well as changes in metabolism resulting from aging of ovarian cells.

It is possible to overcome mitochondrial dysfunction by through a process called cytoplasmic transfer where the cytoplasm from a healthy donor egg is injected into the egg of a woman with compromised fertility. This modified egg is fertilized with sperm and transferred to the uterus as part of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure. There are medical risks associated with a cytoplasmic transfer.

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