That’s the future a biomedical ethics expert envisions for 20 to 40 years from now — soon enough that today’s children may face it when they start their own families.
“The majority of babies of people who have good health coverage will be conceived this way,” predicts Henry Greely, a Stanford University law professor who works in bioethics.
You’ve probably read about concerns over “designer babies,” whose DNA is shaped by gene editing. Greely is focused on a different technology that has gotten much less attention: In a startling bit of biological alchemy, scientists have shown that in mice, they can turn ordinary cells into sperm and eggs.
It’s too soon to know if it could be done in people. But if it can, it could become a powerful infertility treatment, permitting genetic parenthood for people who can’t make their own sperm or eggs.
It also would mean that a woman who wants to get pregnant could produce dozens more eggs per attempt than with the current procedure of harvesting some from her ovaries.
And that means a lot of choices.
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