Autologous stem cell ovarian transplantation to increase reproductive potential in patients who are poor responders

Autologous bone marrow stem cell transplant improves ovarian reserve biomarkers and reproductive outcomes, allowing spontaneous pregnancies in poor responders. Positive effects could be mediated by specific soluble growth factors in apheresis.


Volume 110, Issue 3, Pages 496–505.e1


Sonia Herraiz, Ph.D., Mónica Romeu, M.D., Anna Buigues, B.Sc., Susana Martínez, M.D., César Díaz-García, M.D., Inés Gómez-Seguí, M.D., José Martínez, M.D., Nuria Pellicer, M.D., Antonio Pellicer, M.D.



To evaluate effects of autologous stem cell ovarian transplant (ASCOT) on ovarian reserve and IVF outcomes of women who are poor responders with very poor prognosis.


Prospective observational pilot study.


University hospital.


Seventeen women who are poor responders.


Ovarian infusion of bone marrow-derived stem cells.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Serum antimüllerian hormone levels and antral follicular count (AFC), punctured follicles, and oocytes retrieved after stimulation (controlled ovarian stimulation) were measred. Apheresis was analyzed for growth factor concentrations.


The ASCOT resulted in a significant improvement in AFC 2 weeks after treatment. With an increase in AFC of three or more follicles and/or two consecutive increases in antimüllerian hormone levels as success criteria, ovarian function improved in 81.3% of women. These positive effects were associated with the presence of fibroblast growth factor-2 and thrombospondin. During controlled ovarian stimulation, ASCOT increased the number of stimulable antral follicles and oocytes, but the embryo euploidy rate was low (16.1%). Five pregnancies were achieved: two after ET, three by natural conception.


Our results suggest that ASCOT optimized the mobilization and growth of existing follicles, possibly related to fibroblast growth factor-2 and thrombospondin-1 within apheresis. The ASCOT improved follicle and oocyte quantity enabling pregnancy in women who are poor responders previously limited to oocyte donation.

Clinical Trial Registration Number


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Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.

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