IVG stands for in vitro gametogenesis; a fancy way of saying that individual cells are capable of producing life. Researchers have taken skin cells from mice, turned them into reproductive sperm or egg cells, and then combined them to form embryos that resulted in baby mice. The research suggests that IVG may one day be possible with humans.
The Future Is Here
Further research showed that any cell could be used. In reference to whether humans could use their own DNA to produce their own children, Yale’s Hugh Taylor MD, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences and Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, is “…confident it is not if a matter of if this will be…but when.”
What Does IVG Mean To Humankind?
According to Naomi Cahn, law professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, IVG promises the “means of producing an unlimited supply of sperm and eggs genetically related to the intended parents. This possibility could largely eliminate the need for donors to provide gametes for use in assisted reproduction.”
IVG offers the opportunity for single individuals to procreate without relying on the genetic contribution of another person. Before you react to how crazy an idea that sounds, consider a single individual who does not wish to or cannot reproduce via a traditional physical sexual relationship, or from traditional donor sperm or egg, or with using a surrogate.
The term being used is, “uni-baby.”
There was a time when donor eggs, donor sperm and surrogacy were considered outrageous. Is IVG just another advancement in reproductive technology?
90 Year Old Moms & 10 Year Old Dads
In theory, a 90-year-old person’s cells could be used to create a child with IVG. A child’s cells could create a baby. A deceased person’s cells could produce a child. Cells could even be harvested from a fetus, which could then “make” a child. (With the IVG produced baby brought to fruition in a viable uterus).
But beyond these provocative, and unlikely, sounding usages, there is the very real application of helping a woman who has entered menopause prematurely have a baby, for instance. Read on for other scenarios.
IVG renders the biological clock, irrelevant.
This technology has the potential to enable same-sex couples to conceive children who share biological ties with both partners.
For male gay couples, a surrogate would still be necessary (unless artificial wombs become a viable option) to bring the embryo to term.
For lesbian couples, one could have the embryo implanted and carry the pregnancy to term. This would allow them to avoid the need to rely on anyone outside of the relationship.
LGBTQ+ Fertility Options
LGBTQ+ individuals or parents face persistent challenges, with an increasing number of instances where judges refuse parental rights to a non-biological parent. However, with the advent of IVG, those wanting to parent could liberate themselves from the dependence on donors.
IVG could facilitate the concept of “multiplex” parenting, where larger groups of individuals can procreate together, resulting in children who are genetically related to all members of the group.
Choosing Our Children
IVG has the capacity to enhance and refine the process of prenatal selection by considering multiple factors when selecting embryos. This could aid in avoiding genetic health issues, that could be screened.
IVG Can Further Scientific Inquiry
IVG can be used for research purposes, such as enabling the study of fertilization, early embryonic development, genetic mutations, and test potential drug therapies, among other uses.
Is IVG a Good Thing?
One has to take into consideration the benefits or drawbacks associated with IVG being contingent upon the social, scientific, and legal context in which it is employed and the manner in which it is utilized.
The Future: What Exactly Defines Parenthood?
According to I. Glen Cohen, Faculty Director of The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, “IVG has the potential to upend one of the most traditional elements of human culture—our understanding of what parenthood is and how it occurs. It is critical for law and medical ethics to grapple with the far-ranging implications of this new technology.”
This article was based upon research articles from The National Center for Biotechnology Information, The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, and NPR.
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What is the most overrated food in your opinion?
Click for 19 Of The World’s Most Overrated Foods
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