Advances in stem cell research could change what it means to reproduce. Are we ready for the next revolution in baby-making science?
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Infertility affects approximately 12% of couples trying to conceive a child today, and it is a problem that does not have a simple solution.
But imagine if anyone who wanted to have a child could conceive a healthy baby easily—with modern tools, technologies, and therapies on the horizon the end of infertility could be in sight.
When it comes to medical options for heterosexual patients experiencing infertility, there is a long list of options available, depending on their diagnosis, including optimization of intercourse, hormone therapy, intrauterine insemination, and IVF.
IVF, or in-vitro fertilization, is when the egg and sperm are combined in a lab and then the resulting fertilized embryo is implanted in a woman’s uterus.
But for some, none of these options is enough and so researchers on the cutting edge of stem cell biology around the globe are researching and discovering clues about the causes of infertility and might be paving the way for a method of reproduction that does not need eggs or sperm at all.
Instead it relies on induced pluripotent stem cells.
Find out more about the future of fertility, the possible end to infertility, and what it could mean on this episode of How Close Are We?
#Infertility #IVF #Health #Reproduction #Fertility #Future #HowCloseAreWe #Seeker #Science
Science is Getting Us Closer to the End of Infertility
"How soon before humans have children using IVG? Hayashi, one of the Japanese scientists, guesses it will take five years to produce egg-like cells from other human cells, with another 10 to 20 years of testing before doctors and regulators feel the process is safe enough to use in a clinic. Eli Adashi is less sure of the timing than he is of the outcome. “I don’t think any of us can say how long,” he says. “But the progress in rodents was remarkable: In six years, we went from nothing to everything. To suggest that this won’t be possible in humans is naive.”
We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: The History of IVF
"With celebrities like Mariah Carey having a baby at 41 thanks to donor eggs, and others – like Jimmy Fallon and Neil Patrick Harris – becoming parents through a surrogate, the opportunity to be a parent has been extended to more women as well as to the gay community. Our hope now is for insurance companies to expand coverage for fertility treatments and IVF, making this miracle procedure not only scientifically possible but financially accessible, as well."
Embryo-like structures created from human stem cells
"Biologists have developed a way to use human stem cells to make structures that mimic early embryos. The embryo-like structures are the first to produce rudimentary reproductive cells; and also go through stages that resemble several other landmarks in early human development."
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