Can Stem Cells be used for Reproduction?

Updated: 6 days ago


Infertility is a condition that millions of people have. Many infertile people desire to conceive their own children, yet are unable to. According to Healthline, some of the current treatments available for infertility are IVF (in vitro fertilization), which is a process in which eggs are extracted from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab, or donor eggs/sperm.

Although there are treatments available for infertility, many treatments are not 100% effective nor are they always accessible. Therefore, new treatments are steadily being innovated. A novel treatmen developed and tested is using stem cells made from blood to make human eggs. According to Discovery Magazine, in 2018, a group of Japanese scientists, Katsuhiko Hayashi, Sugako Ogushi, Kazuki Kurimoto, So Shimamoto, Hiroshi Ohta, and Mitinori Saitou, made immature eggs from human blood cells and the pluripotent stem cell technique. The pluripotent stem cell technique is the technique of cells that can self-renew by dividing and developing into the three primary germ cell layers of an embryo in its early stages, according to nature.com. Thus, we can currently make undeveloped or immature human eggs.


Research concerning this treatment still needs to be done. This experiment produced immature human eggs, but that is not enough. Scientists are working towards developing fully developed eggs from stem cells. Many are doubtful about the method of producing eggs from stem cells that are made from blood, skin, etc. due to ethical implications. For instance, according to Discover Magazine, concerns arise with using another person's DNA, without their consent to reproduce. Personally, I believe the more progress making human eggs from stem cells, the more solutions we will obtain for issues like this. Furthermore, producing human eggs from stem cells can be just as expensive as current treatments for infertility, but I believe that scientists can innovate new methods, making this process lower in cost. While as of current, using stem cells for producing fully developed human eggs is not fully possible, there is hope that in the future it will be possible.


Sources:

- Mock, J. (2020, August 14). How Close Are We To Making Babies from Bone Marrow? Discover Magazine. https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/how-close-are-we-to-making-babies-from-bone-marrow.


- Nature Publishing Group. (n.d.). Nature News. https://www.nature.com/subjects/pluripotent-stem-cells.


- Seladi-Schulman, J. (2019, February 4). All You Need to Know About Infertility. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/fertility#overview.


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