[S]oon, stem cells swabbed from human beings’ cheeks or skin could be cultured to create germ cells (sperm and eggs), and from there used to create a human being.
The process, known as in vitro gametogenesis (IVG), has never been completed with cells from people…But there have been real, live mice…created through this process. Every indication is that human beings will soon follow.
With IVG, there would be no need for the complicated and expensive process of retrieving a donor egg from a third person. Instead, a swab of the cheek and some time to culture in a laboratory could produce as many eggs as the woman might need.
And if large groups of embryos are created, whether for purposes of creating children or for research, it’s likely that many [embryos] will be destroyed, intentionally or otherwise. And there are people who believe deeply that destroying an embryo is murder.
This isn’t a new issue…But IVG does present a new potential flashpoint for this debate, with the real possibility of conflict between activists who would attribute human rights to embryos and parents seeking fertility treatments.
[Eli Adashi, a professor of medical science at Brown University,] warns that if scientists don’t begin that conversation, the results will be bad for science.
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