In a major scientific breakthrough with some potentially troubling ethical implications, Japan is reportedly ‘on the cusp’ of being able to grow babies from scratch in a lab.
Researchers in Japan claim that they will soon be able to create human eggs and sperm artificially, creating an artificial womb that would eventually become a born human being.
While many have hailed the breakthrough as historic, some people have already started voicing concerns about medical ethics.
The scientific development would allow women of any age to have children and could allow parents to genetically alter babies.
The ability to create eggs and sperm cells artificially is called ‘vitro gametogenesis (IVG).’
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Dr Hayashi, one of the lead researchers on the project, said it would likely take another five years for the process to be complete, and an additional 10-20 years of testing before it would be available to the wider population.
Some uses for the process could be for homosexual couples and couples who have struggled conceiving a child on their own.
Another worrisome ethical concern that has been voiced is that it would give people the ability to steal someone’s DNA and make a baby without their consent.
Already, the process has resulted in multiple healthy puppies and mice.
One medical ethicist concluded that the process would be up for debate in wider society before it would be adopted widespread.
‘That is not a question just for the scientific program, but also for [society].’ He said.
The Daily Mail Reports–
Growing human babies from scratch in a lab could be possible in just five years thanks to a new breakthrough.
Researchers in Japan are on the cusp of being able to create human eggs and sperm in the lab from scratch, which would then develop in an artificial womb.
Professor Katsuhiko Hayashi, a Japanese scientist at Kyushu University who has already figured out the process in mice, believes he is just five years away from replicating the results in humans.
But there are ethical concerns, as it means women of any age could have babies. Parents may also want to design their offspring to have certain traits using gene editing tools, giving way to the notion of an assumed perfect child.