Fertility goes Brave New World
Ever read the book Brave New World? In Aldous Huxley's science fiction masterpiece most people stop having babies the old fashioned way; instead humans are the product of test tubes, petri dishes and the like. With the advent of that seventy-year-old woman recently giving birth to twins, I'm starting to feel like the "fiction" part of sci-fi isn't so far-fetched.
Turns out scientists themselves don't think so either. A new report in the July edition of the Nature journal, scientists are predicting that within 30 years artifical wombs will be commonplace and it will be ethically acceptable to perform experiments on human embryos. Creeped out enough yet? They're also predicting infertility could go the way of the dinosaur, that labs will be able to manufacture eggs and sperm and that "genetic cassettes" will be used to correct diseases among other things.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) will be available for everyone and anyone from babies to grandmas will be able to have children. It was also noted that designer babies will remain an impossibility and people will still generally prefer making babies the old-school way, as it's less expensive and more fun. Having that kind of technology is one thing, but using it is another. Ethics take interesting turns throughout the years, and I don't necessarily think everyone would agree with all the possibilities mentioned above.
What do you think? Is this sort of progress inevitable and we should embrace it, or is there a good reason why infertility exists and we should let mother nature take her course?
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