November 03, 2017

Credit: Harald Groven / Flickr Creative Commons

We’ve made babies pretty much the same for a very long time. No need to get into the specifics, but for the majority of people throughout human history, sex and reproduction have been inextricably linked. But, according to Hank Greely, a professor at Stanford and author of “The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction,” that all may change. And it may change sooner than we think.

Three Takeaways 

  • “In 20-40 years, most babies born to people with good health coverage anywhere in the world will not have been conceived in bed or in the backseat of a car, but will have been conceived in a clinic,” Greely says.
  • In Greely’s vision of the future, skin cells would be turned into egg cells, combined with sperm, and a whole bunch of embryos would be created. These embryos would each receive a whole genome sequence and parents would select which embryo to bring to term.
  • This technology would raise a host of issues, including safety, the rights of those who already have genetic diseases, and religious objections. Greely believes it’s important to talk through those issues now, so that when the technology becomes available, we can avoid making terrible decisions

More reading 

reproduction, Hank Greely, Kara Miller, Sex, Sci and Tech, innovation hub, babies, WGBH, Sci & Tech, pri

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