In the future, when a couple wants to reproduce, they will not make a baby in a bed or in the backseat or a car, or under a Keep Off the Grass sign, says Henry Greely, the director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford Law School.
Instead, they will go to a clinic. Using stem cells from the couples skin or other non-reproductive organs, scientists will be able to make eggs and sperm, which will be combined into embryos. Each of those embryos will have its own gene sequence, Greely says. The parents will be asked: What do you want to know about these embryos? And theyll be told.
Twenty or 30 years from now, parents will be able to screen their potential kids for genetic abnormalities, pre-disposal to disease, sex, and even cosmetic features like hair, eye, and skin color, Greely claims. The new way of baby-making will save women the pain of going through fertility treatments, he says, and it will prevent disease, save health-care costs, and give non-traditional families more chances to have children. If this reproductive future comes to pass, it will also come with a tangle of moral, legal, and medical questionsones that wont be easy to resolve, despite what Greely may think.
When Greely tells people about his theorywhich is the subject of his 2016 book, The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproductionthey tend to say, This is Gattica, or this is Brave New World, he said during an interview with the New York Times reporter Carl Zimmer on Monday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic. Greely is skeptical of this argument. This is not designer babies. This is not super babies. This is selecting embryos, he said.
Greely gets some of his confidence from the limits of science. Geneticists likely wont be able to predict kids behavioral traits, he said, like their aptitude for math or agility on a sports field. But they may be able to anticipate some traits, like intelligence, in broad strokes. Being able to tell parents that this embryo has a 60 percent chance of being in the top half [of their school class], this embryo has a 13 percent chance of being in the top 10 percentI think thats really possible, he said.
Scientists have been screening embryos using a process called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD, for two and half decades, Greely said. This allows for the detection of some genetic diseases, as well as determining the sex of the embryo. Up until now, it has been expensive and arduous, but with new technologyincluding the expanded use of stem cellsit will become easy, he said. The people most likely to lead the way on easy PGD are those with fertility trouble, he argues, or those who cant have their own biological kids, including same-sex couples. For these people, the process seems to be a clear potential win: Once hopeless, they may soon be able to have biological children of their own.
But if the process does indeed advance in the way Greely predicts, it will come with big ethical challenges. Safety is a big issue, he said. Coercion is a big issue: Will you be forced to do this? No matter how easy PGD becomes, it will always be expensive, meaning that babies from rich families would gain even more advantages over other people before they leave the womb. The procedure also challenges the disability-rights movement, Greely pointed out: It implicitly suggests that some traits, and thus some people, are preferable to others.
Theres very little about our modern lives that a God from 3000 years ago would have expected.
Some critics may also claim this process is against Gods will, Greely added. I dont have a lot of confidence in the intellectual strength of that argument, but I think it has a lot of visceral support.
Despite Greelys skepticism, this seems to be the greatest potential objection to a world of skin-cell babies and intensive genetic screening: It assumes that the creation of life is a matter of pipettes and petri dishes, not something greater. While the widespread use of contraceptives has largely divorced sex from procreation, this process would represent the final severing. As Greely pointed out, the very meaning of sex would change. Most people have sex and it doesnt result in a baby, he said. They do it because they like it. They do it as a token of love. They do it because theyre forced to. They do it to make money. Pleasure, ultimately, will be a main driver of sex, he added.
For the many peoplereligious or notwho believe that life is not ultimately a matter of science, the world of easy PGD may seem disorienting, even morally disturbing. But Greely didnt think religious or moral arguments could persuade someone like him, or society more broadly, that easy PGD isnt a good idea.
If you, coming from a Catholic background, try to convince me, coming from a non-Catholic background ... that wouldnt work for me, he said. I need a more intellectual argument than one based on my faith or the tablets brought down from the mountain for me say this. Theres very little about our modern lives thats natural or what a God from 3000 years ago would have expected or wanted, including all of modern medicine.
As head-spinning as these theoretical ethical challenges are, perhaps easy PGD wont be as common as Greely thinks. After all, he joked, were never going to get rid of teenagers in the back seat of a car.
Follow this link:
Making Babies, No Sex Necessary - The Atlantic
- Judge Says FDA Can Stop Clinic from Selling Stem Cell ... - May 21st, 2020
- Saad Z. Usmani, on the Approval of Daratumumab and Hyaluronidase-fihj - Cancer Network - May 19th, 2020
- R3 Stem Cell International Now Offering Enhanced Autism Stem Cell Program in Mexico - PR Web - May 19th, 2020
- Stem Cell Concentration System Market Report 2020: Rising Impressive Business - News by aeresearch - May 19th, 2020
- Precision therapy approach secures small biotech $42M haul to combat disease that inspired the Ice Bucket Challenge - Endpoints News - May 19th, 2020
- QurAlis raises $42 Million Series A Financing to Develop New Therapies for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) - Business Wire - May 17th, 2020
- Coronavirus Outbreak: Cancer Stem Cell Therapy Market Overview and Competitive Landscape 2020 to 2025 - Cole of Duty - May 15th, 2020
- Intellia Therapeutics Reports Progress on CRISPR/Cas9 AML Cancer Therapy Using Proprietary Cell Engineering Process at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the... - May 12th, 2020
- Vasomune Therapeutics Announces Clinical and Scientific Advisory Board - BioSpace - May 12th, 2020
- Orgenesis sees 1Q revenue rocket driven by its Cell and Gene Therapy Biotech platform - Proactive Investors USA & Canada - May 12th, 2020
- Orgenesis First Quarter 2020 Revenue Increases 348% to $1.9 Million Reflecting Success of CGT Biotech Platform - GlobeNewswire - May 12th, 2020
- Meat the Future - documentary Channel - CBC.ca - May 10th, 2020
- Researchers discover stem cells' 'death-defying' quality that aids healing - ETHealthworld.com - May 10th, 2020
- On the Road As a Stem Cell Courier - CSRwire.com - May 3rd, 2020
- You could be someones only hope: A stem cell donor campaigning to beat blood cancer - Evening Standard - May 3rd, 2020
- David C. Karli is Offering a New Ray of Hope Through Regenerative Medicine - RESPECT. - May 3rd, 2020
- FDA Expediting Accelerated Development of Novel Therapies for COVID-19 - PR Newswire UK - May 3rd, 2020
- What to do if you think you have COVID-19: a step by step guide - The Dickinson Press - April 21st, 2020
- Stem cells in the clinic: how are they regulated? - European Pharmaceutical Review - April 20th, 2020
- NHS's oldest IVF clinic at risk of closure amid increasing privatisations - The Guardian - April 20th, 2020
- Here are the drugs that could treat coronavirus. But don't expect a silver bullet. - The Philadelphia Inquirer - April 18th, 2020
- Analyzing the Outcomes With Different Treatment Techniques in Myeloma - Targeted Oncology - April 18th, 2020
- Team to Advance Stem Cell Therapies in New Space Station Lab - Lab Manager Magazine - April 11th, 2020
- Hackensack Meridian Health Studying the Blood of COVID-19 Survivors - P&T Community - April 11th, 2020
- UC San Diego to Advance Stem Cell Therapies in New Space Station Lab - UC San Diego Health - April 9th, 2020
- Orgenesis partners with Belgium"s RevaTis to develop stem cells for therapeutic use - Proactive Investors USA & Canada - April 9th, 2020
- AgeX Therapeutics Reports Fourth Quarter and Annual 2019 Financial Results and Provides Business Update - Yahoo Finance - March 31st, 2020
- Larkhall mum was walked down the aisle by stem cell donor who saved her life - Daily Record - March 31st, 2020
- Q&A: Covid-19 and impact on people with cancer - The Irish Times - March 30th, 2020
- COVID-19 and Cancer: What You Need to Know - Everyday Health - March 30th, 2020
- Cancer Stem Cell Therapy Value Projected to Expand by 2019-2025 - Monroe Scoop - March 27th, 2020
- Unlocking the Potential of a Widely Used Drug - Technology Networks - March 25th, 2020
- Cancer Care and COVID-19 in Seattle, the First US Epicenter - Medscape - March 24th, 2020
- Immatics and Molmed become the subjects of very different deals - Vantage - March 21st, 2020
- Claudia Rodrigues is removed from the clinic where she was hospitalized because of the coronavirus - Crypto Dictation - March 21st, 2020
- Stem cells can reverse damage caused by heart attack; repair mechanism discovered: Study - International Business Times, Singapore Edition - March 16th, 2020
- Newly Discovered Memory in Our Bones: Keeping a Record of Previous Infections to Boost Immunity - SciTechDaily - March 16th, 2020
- The race to find a coronavirus treatment: One strategy might be just weeks away, scientists say - USA TODAY - March 16th, 2020
- Cancer Stem Cell Therapy Market Global Size, Demand-sales, Suppliers by Key Applications 2019 Detailed Analysis and Growth Aspects on Manufacturing... - March 15th, 2020
- Woman meets stranger who saved her life and allowed her to become a mum - Mirror Online - March 15th, 2020
- Stem Cell Manufacturing Market Analysis By Recent Trends, Developments In Top Manufacturing Technology And Regional Growth Overview And Forecast To... - March 11th, 2020
- Kuur Therapeutics Launches to Develop and Commercialize Off-the-shelf CAR-NKT Cell Therapies Targeting Hematological and Solid Tumors | DNA RNA and... - March 11th, 2020
- The London Patient, Cured of H.I.V., Reveals His Identity - The New York Times - March 11th, 2020
- Cancer Stem Cell Therapy Market 2019- Emerging Economies Expected to Influence Growth by 2025 with Major Players-AVIVA BioSciences, AdnaGen, Advanced... - March 10th, 2020
- Maryland Booms in the BioCapital Hotbed - BioSpace - March 10th, 2020
- Gilead to Acquire Immuno-Oncology Company Forty Seven for $4.9 Billion - PharmaLive - March 5th, 2020
- THC Could Be First-of-its-Kind Treatment for Women With Endometriosis, Says New Study - Good News Network - March 5th, 2020
- Autolus Therapeutics Plc (AUTL) QEarnings Call Transcript - Motley Fool - March 5th, 2020
- CytoDyn Treats First Patient with Leronlimab in Phase 2 Trial for GvHD under Modified Trial Protocol - Yahoo Finance - March 5th, 2020
- Magenta Therapeutics Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Financial Results and Recent Business Highlights - Yahoo Finance - March 4th, 2020
- Omeros Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2019 Financial Results - Business Wire - March 4th, 2020
- Animal Stem Cell Therapy Market by Segmentation Based on Product, Application and Region, 2019-2025 - Jewish Life News - February 29th, 2020
- Indiana Regenerative Medicine Institute Offers Innovative Approaches in Regenerative Medicine, Hormone Replacement and Pain Management - Zionsville... - February 29th, 2020
- Hyperbaric chamber therapy: Im under a lot of pressure and I love it! - The Guardian - February 25th, 2020
- DDP and Austin Aries Reportedly Pitching Stem Cell Venture to AEW | 411MANIA - 411mania.com - February 25th, 2020
- Why Austin Aries and Raven Were At AEW Dynamite - PWMania - February 25th, 2020
- Austin Aries Confirms Why He Was At AEW Dynamite This Week - 411mania.com - February 24th, 2020
- BrainStorm Announces Operational Highlights and Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2019 Conference Call and Webcast @ 8:00 am Eastern... - February 18th, 2020
- Animal Stem Cell Therapy Market Projected to Witness Vigorous Expansion by 2017 2025 - Instant Tech News - February 18th, 2020
- 6 Healthcare Stocks That Could Make You Filthy Rich - The Motley Fool - February 18th, 2020
- Mixed ethnic backgrounds make it that much harder to find a bone marrow transplant - MLive.com - February 17th, 2020
- 48% of Couples Are Making This Financial Mistake - Nasdaq - February 17th, 2020
- 'Loving life': 4-year-old not letting heart condition slow him down - Port Clinton News Herald - February 15th, 2020
- Cancer Stem Cell Therapy Market Trends, Key Players, Overview, Competitive Breakdown and Regional Forecast by 2025 Mathematics Market Methods - Keep... - February 15th, 2020
- Regenexx, First to Use Stem Cells in Orthopedic Therapy, Marks 15th Anniversary - Yahoo Finance - February 12th, 2020
- What Drives the Domino Effect in Cancer Drug Resistance? - Technology Networks - February 12th, 2020
- CRISPR, CAR-T, Consolidation: Top Advanced Therapy Milestones of 2019 - Xconomy - February 12th, 2020
- Science team designs a new CAR they say may work much better than BCMAs in fighting multiple myeloma - Endpoints News - February 12th, 2020
- Omeros: 2 Major Catalysts On The Horizon - Seeking Alpha - February 10th, 2020
- Blood In The Joint - Economic Times - February 10th, 2020
- PRACTICALLY ACTIVE: Screening is a smart way to start a healthier life - NWAOnline - February 10th, 2020
- Anemia: Causes, symptoms and treatment - Livescience.com - February 6th, 2020
- Here's Why CRISPR Stocks Fell in January - The Motley Fool - February 6th, 2020
- Victoria Beckham says this product is the best product you will ever use - Marie Claire UK - February 6th, 2020
- Korzan: On World Cancer day, pledge to be relentless - AberdeenNews.com - February 5th, 2020
- Global Radiation Therapy Market to Reach US$ 8.6 bn by 2026, Product Approvals to Drive Growth: Transparency Market Research - PRNewswire - February 5th, 2020
- SASpine to offer Stem Cell Therapy - Yahoo Finance - February 4th, 2020
- Dr. Kenneth Pettine Announces Verification of Clinical Safety Trial - Yahoo Finance - February 4th, 2020
- The Marsh Presents Welcome to The Cancer Caf - Patch.com - February 4th, 2020
- Freeport stem cell therapy provider Okyanos in wind-up petition battle - EyeWitness News - February 4th, 2020