UNITED NEWS INTERNATIONAL (UNI) — Scientists have grown human eggs from start to finish outside the human body for the first time.

A study recently published in the journal Molecular Human Reproduction says the breakthrough could one day help women who struggle with fertility.

Women are born with millions of immature eggs within their ovarian tissue.

After puberty, immature eggs develop into mature eggs that can be fertilized and one is released every month.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh brought a handful of donated immature eggs to maturity by carefully controlling certain oxygen levels, hormones, proteins and culture conditions.

The eggs were not fertilized, so it’s unclear if they could have continued on.

But study authors say the accomplishment is a step forward in fertility research.

They hope to help young girls who undergo cancer treatment before reaching puberty by preserving their immature eggs for them to use later in life.