It’s already been successfully accomplished in mice: the joining of sperm and egg cells that were developed from skin-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), and the consequent creation of healthy infants. But could the same thing be done in humans? And if so, should it?
Dr. Hank Greely is the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and professor by courtesy of genetics at Stanford University with expert knowledge on the social, legal, and ethical implications of various research endeavors in genetics and the biosciences. He’s also the author of The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction, a fascinating book that focuses largely on the concept of embryo selection, which, aided by the latest developments in stem cell and iPS research, could become a reality in the coming years. Imagine being able to flip through a catalog of hundreds of options of embryos—some with a high likelihood of having blonde hair and brown eyes and a low risk of developing a certain disease, and others with a high likelihood of having brown hair , or blue eyes, or a high risk of developing that same disease.
Dr. Greely discusses a range of interesting topics, including the potential for the development of skin-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to allow hundreds of thousands of couples to have genetic children despite not having functional sperm and/or eggs, the potential for homosexual couples to have genetic children, and unibabies—the concept of developing an embryo created by egg and sperm cells from the same individual. What would that look like, and what’s the next step after unibabies? Dr. Greely discusses all this and more, so tune in, check out his book on Amazon, and watch his Ted Talk by following this link