Forget IVF (In vitro fertilisation is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish, and then transferring the embryo to the uterus) as researchers have come up with a new technique that is better and more efficient in producing babies. The method can create the possibility of same-sex couples having children biologically related to both partners.
In vitro gametogenesis (IVG) is the method, most advanced in mice, by which gametes are derived from pluripotent stem cells (capable of giving rise to several different cell types) or embryonic stem cells. IVG in humans could potentially allow for never-before used methods of procreation. Research suggests that while not yet advanced enough on human cells, IVG for reproduction may one day be possible in humans.
“IVG could play a role in efforts to have a healthy or enhanced child by making prenatal selection much easier and more robust,” said professor Sonia Suter. “It could, for example, be used to create many more embryos for preimplantation genetic diagnosis than we can today, vastly refining the ability to select embryos,” she added.
Several groups of people could potentially use IVG for reproduction like those who cannot conceive for physical reasons, same-sex couples, postmenopausal women or premenarche girls and groups of more than two – multiplex parenting.
What distinguishes IVG from current reproductive technologies (ART) is that it would allow such couples to have biologically related children without using gamete donors. For example, a gamete of the opposite sex could be derived from an individual’s cells. This, in combination with a naturally derived gamete from the other member of the couple, could be used to produce an embryo. Despite concerns over the risks and the fact that the technology is still a way off, professor says that in many ways, IVG may be just another way to have a baby.
The paper appeared in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences.