Making Babies in the Future Won’t Require Two Parents

by Daniel / May 18, 2017 / 0 comments

Currently there are three-parent babies and test-tube babies, both of these two have created a lot of controversy. But as it stands, making a baby requires a sperm from the father and an egg from the mother. According to scientists this will not be imperative, because in the near future, it’s likely that babies will be made from skin cells alone.

This was proved last year in Japan where scientists revealed that mice were born from eggs from the parent’s skin cells. Doing the same on humans is a whole different ball game but the scientists believe that one day, the technique will apply on humans too.

This process is known as in-vitro gametogenesis or in simpler terms, IVG, the process that allows sperms and eggs to be created in a lab. This can become a ground breaking discovery as it has the capability to eradicate infertility. Think about it, same sex couples can have a baby that is biologically related to both of them. A woman can choose to have a baby on her own. The embryo can be implanted into an artificial womb or into the mother’s womb. This process would give rise to babies with a single genetic parent or more than two genetic parents.

Ethical Questions

As much as IVG can wipe out infertility, some ethical questions have been raised against it. For example, Professor Sonia M. Suter referred to this technique as “incest on steroids” as it raises the risk of a number of genetic disorders. Unlike natural reproduction, IVG raises the possibility of the child having same genes (homozygosity) for recessive genes; this might contribute to a greater risk of disability and diseases.

Another area of concern is the use of IVG with gene modification and editing to pick specific traits. There is also the risk of skin cell thieves, someone can give you a gentle scratch and use your skin to start a family, creepy right?

Finally, scientists have said that this technique can lead to vast embryo farming and this might make people view life as something of little value.

IVG is still years away from being tested on humans but if the studies continue to get funding, it's going to be here much sooner than you think.