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The Dawn of the Brave New World!

Published online 16 July 2008 | Nature 454, 260-262 (2008) | doi:10.1038/454260a

News

Making babies: the next 30 years

Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, was born 30 years ago this month after being conceived outside the body using in-vitro fertilization (IVF).

Davor Solter, developmental biologist at the Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) in Singapore has thought to expand the potential of new techniques:
“It will be possible to make iPS( induced pluripotent stem cells) from skin cells, to make germ cells from these, and then combine them to make human embryos.

It means every person regardless of age will be able to have children: newborn children could have children and 100-year olds could have children. It could easily happen in the next 30 years.

Another thing I predict … is the use of artificial placentas. In essence, it would eliminate all the limitations we have now: you could have as many or as few progeny as you want. …”

Alan Trounson, an IVF pioneer and director of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco is very optimist about the possibilities to... eliminate infertility in the Third World!:

“Also I think there will be further expansion of low-cost IVF, especially for women in developing countries who experience social discrimination with infertility. If you remove all the expensive stuff and use low-cost drugs (such as clomiphene) and remove just one or two eggs, and only transfer one embryo, it can be done for less than US$100.”

The following is the opinion of an ethicist , Scott Gelfand, director of the Ethics Center at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater:

“Those who work on artificial-womb technology aren't talking openly about it anymore. My guess is it's a potential lightning rod in our culture. There are some very interesting moral and ethical implications associated with artificial wombs.”

(Really?)

And continues:

If an artificial womb were developed, the government could pass a law that requires people who have a termination of pregnancy to put the fetus into one of these wombs. …and then put them up for adoption we would have one million more babies.”

We congratulate with Zev Rosenwaks, director of the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility in New York, for his noble objective:

“I see the technology going towards possible eradication of infertility altogether. With nuclear-transfer technology or cell modification, I think we'll be able to generate sperm and eggs for anybody.”

Are these scientists certified lunatics?

Marisa