The Future of Artificial Reproduction

Yunus Emre Duyar
April 19th 2015

The technology behind artificial reproduction is at a level that was unimaginable decades ago, we can now use artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization to create babies without having actual sex. In the future, according to researcher Dr Paul Turek and his team, we could go a step further and use artificial testicles to produce sperm cells.

The group of researchers, which include doctors from Stanford University, Montana State University and the San Francisco biotech company MandalMed, is working on the development of an artificial testicle that would turn stem cells into sperm cells.

In 2011, Japanese scientists were able to produce sperm cells by seeding stem cells drawn from the testicular tissue of baby mice. Last May, a major breakthrough took place when a group of scientists was able to produce sperm cells by deriving stem cells from human skin cells and growing them in mice testicles.

The trick is creating the right combination of cells and hormones to create an environment for stem cells that mimics actual testicles. If the team has the necessary funds to continue the research phase, men with low sperm counts might be able to have babies as well.

Story via Vice. Image via Shutterstock

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Should men be able to give birth to children?

Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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