In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG)

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Hellbound Hellhound

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In 1959, Dr. Min Chueh Chang of the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, discovered that it was possible to fertilize rabbit eggs in vitro, proceeding to create the first live animal ever to be conceived using this method.

19 years later, in 1978, Louise Brown was born; the first child ever conceived using a process known as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Now that IVF has become a common procedure for potential parents, a newer, more high-tech fertility technology is being actively researched. It's called in vitro gametogenesis (IVG), and instead of involving gametes which have been donated from prospective parents, it involves the creation of entirely new gametes derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

In 2016, the first embryos to be created using this method resulted in healthy, baby mice.

I find this technology interesting for a multitude of reasons, almost all of which revolve around the fact that it will allow just about anybody to reproduce with anybody else, irrespective of whether or not they have functioning or compatible sex organs.

It will allow, for instance:
  • People without sex organs to have biological children.
  • Same-sex couples to have biological children.
  • Single parents to create a biological child on their own (basically: incest on steroids).
  • Multiple parents to create a biological child together (think polyamory).
For those who are interested, all of the above has already been achieved in mice, as of 2020.

Now, I am interested in the societal implications of this. Will it make biological sex obsolete? Will it allow genetic screening to become more routine and comprehensive? (it would, theoretically, allow couples to create literally millions of embryos, and decide with the help of a fertility clinic which is the most suitable). Could the technology be abused in some way? (theoretically, an obsessive stalker could reproduce with a celebrity without the celebrity knowing, simply by covertly acquiring a skin cell from them upon contact).

I am interested in getting other people's thoughts on this, because outside of the scientific community, I find that almost nobody is talking about it.
 

eldri

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Could the technology be abused in some way?
If it becomes commercially viable, then it will certainly be limited to and abused by the wealthy.
The wealthy would no longer have to deal with the hand of fate and produce children representative of the most favorable genes the parents have. No mental and physical issues to worry about and born into a wealthy, the children have a even greater chance of leaping even higher from their parents' success.

There is already something like this to a lesser degree with sperm donors. I remember years ago a guest on Joe Rogan's podcast mentioned some company (I believe it was this one below) would go talent hunting for possible sperm donors at prestigious universities.
https://www.cryobank.com/why-use-us/
1580680196889.png
 
Last edited:

Wallace

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Now, I am interested in the societal implications of this. Will it make biological sex obsolete? Will it allow genetic screening to become more routine and comprehensive? (it would, theoretically, allow couples to create literally millions of embryos, and decide with the help of a fertility clinic which is the most suitable). Could the technology be abused in some way? (theoretically, an obsessive stalker could reproduce with a celebrity without the celebrity knowing, simply by covertly acquiring a skin cell from them upon contact).

Here's an overview of this subject.

In order of your questions:

No, because this technology still takes a fair amount of effort compared to plain old sex. It may help people who cannot reproduce, but the rest of us will get by the old fashioned way just fine.

No more than is already done in conventional IVF. All you're doing is creating new gametes, the methods of genetic screening haven't changed.

Yes, because it would theoretically allow you to breed anyone you wanted to without the need to get your hands on their gametes. All you'd need is someone to incubate the embryo and give birth. It's one step closer to breeding people in tanks. Alternatively, you could give birth to someone who would be nearly your genetic clone, by combining your own IVD gametes with your non‐IVD gametes. You would be both mother and father. You could theoretically make zygotes with more than two genetic parents.
 

Your Weird Fetish

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How do some of these concepts get past genetic imprinting? In mammals certain genes have to be inherited from the mother or the father to be expressed. The other parents' copy does jack squat. If one was missing...well, stuff goes wrong. does inducing a cell into a gamete that would normally be found in the opposite sex from the donor somehow establish an imprint before the creation of a zygote?

If it becomes commercially viable, then it will certainly be limited to and abused by the wealthy.
The wealthy would no longer have to deal with the hand of fate and produce children representative of the most favorable genes the parents have. No mental and physical issues to worry about and born into a wealthy, the children have a even greater chance of leaping even higher from their parents' success.

There is already something like this to a lesser degree with sperm donors. I remember years ago a guest on Joe Rogan's podcast mentioned some company (I believe it was this one below) would go talent hunting for possible sperm donors at prestigious universities.
https://www.cryobank.com/why-use-us/
View attachment 1127398
Society finally becomes a pure meritocracy, and here's why it's a bad thing:
 

Hellbound Hellhound

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How do some of these concepts get past genetic imprinting?

They wouldn't need to. Technically, IVG doesn't alter the process of conception beyond the question of how the gametes are produced (as in: naturally vs. artificially), so there is still technically a mother and a father, it's just that in the case of IVG, the mother and the father could be 1) the same person, 2) two males, 3) two females, 4) a male and a female but with the biological sexes flipped, or 5) a series of embryos created between multiple people.

In the case of polyamorous reproduction, the child would technically be more like a grandchild or a great-grandchild, genetically speaking (depending upon how many embryos needed to be created in order to complete the sequence), but they would still be a biological descendant nonetheless.

In the case of a heterosexual couple where the man contributed the stem cells which became the egg, and the woman contributed the stem cells which became the sperm (why someone would choose to do this, I don't know, but it doesn't really matter for the purpose of a technical illustration), the man would technically be the mother, and the woman would technically be the father.

Genetic imprinting is actually more pronounced in mice than it is in humans, and it hasn't stopped healthy baby mice from being born thanks to this method.
 

Otterly

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How do some of these concepts get past genetic imprinting?
This is probably the biggest hurdle. It’s why you don’t get parthenogenesis in humans, so any mucking around with two male genomes or two female is a long way off.
If they’re talking about creating an egg cell from a female somatic cell and a sperm from a Male somatic cell then that’s probably a little closer (it’s been done in mice I think?)
Human imprinting is different on a number of levels to that of mouse. I don’t think this is happening soon.
It is technically possible but the risk of imprinting errors is huge. ART of all types already doubles your risk of genetic disorders, this would push that much higher.
 

wtfNeedSignUp

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I think the bigger problem is having an artificial womb to deposit the fetus into. This invention might be nice for same sex couples and will probably be a toy for rich people trying to argue how superior the children they made with some thot.
Socially it will probably be used to convince women that they can be wage slaves until retirement, no need to fear being a dead egg.
 

Otterly

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Socially it will probably be used to convince women that they can be wage slaves until retirement, no need to fear being a dead egg.
There’s a huge push at the moment to normalise surrogacy as well. Which will prey on poorer women to be rent a wombs. Imagine ten years time: ‘well this lovely Troon couple want a baby, and you must accept any job the unemployment service gives you so rent your womb out, SPD the health consequences ....’ or no benefits, you’re a bigot, etc.
I think there just needs to be a point where we stop fucking around with human reproduction because the ethics gets unpleasant. IVF for couples to be able to have a healthy baby/ preimplantation genetic screening is probably where I draw the limit. We don’t need to be creating babies for two men, or a poly system. Babies are not a right, or something to be experimented with, or a fetish trophy.
 

wtfNeedSignUp

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There’s a huge push at the moment to normalise surrogacy as well. Which will prey on poorer women to be rent a wombs. Imagine ten years time: ‘well this lovely Troon couple want a baby, and you must accept any job the unemployment service gives you so rent your womb out, SPD the health consequences ....’ or no benefits, you’re a bigot, etc.
I think there just needs to be a point where we stop fucking around with human reproduction because the ethics gets unpleasant. IVF for couples to be able to have a healthy baby/ preimplantation genetic screening is probably where I draw the limit. We don’t need to be creating babies for two men, or a poly system. Babies are not a right, or something to be experimented with, or a fetish trophy.
It did happen in my country. The government made a law to financially aid couples with fertilization and surrogacy. The law was for straight couples, lesbian couples and single mothers. The gays got BTFO'd and the media tried to push a narrative that surrogacy is totally empowering for women and the government is homophobic (despite the law being for lesbian couples....).
 

Lemmingwise

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I think the bigger problem is having an artificial womb to deposit the fetus into. This invention might be nice for same sex couples and will probably be a toy for rich people trying to argue how superior the children they made with some thot.
Socially it will probably be used to convince women that they can be wage slaves until retirement, no need to fear being a dead egg.
And to no longer have toxic masculinity children.
 

Your Weird Fetish

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There’s a huge push at the moment to normalise surrogacy as well. Which will prey on poorer women to be rent a wombs. Imagine ten years time: ‘well this lovely Troon couple want a baby, and you must accept any job the unemployment service gives you so rent your womb out, SPD the health consequences ....’ or no benefits, you’re a bigot, etc.
I think there just needs to be a point where we stop fucking around with human reproduction because the ethics gets unpleasant. IVF for couples to be able to have a healthy baby/ preimplantation genetic screening is probably where I draw the limit. We don’t need to be creating babies for two men, or a poly system. Babies are not a right, or something to be experimented with, or a fetish trophy.
Surrogates are a major danger to child custody. It's taking a huge risk to make that your mode of reproduction if you don't absolutely have to.

These artificial methods should be used for screening for diseases or picking the best possible zygote, not giving two obese androgynes a new pet to neglect.
 

An Account

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They wouldn't need to. Technically, IVG doesn't alter the process of conception beyond the question of how the gametes are produced (as in: naturally vs. artificially), so there is still technically a mother and a father, it's just that in the case of IVG, the mother and the father could be 1) the same person, 2) two males, 3) two females, 4) a male and a female but with the biological sexes flipped, or 5) a series of embryos created between multiple people.

In the case of polyamorous reproduction, the child would technically be more like a grandchild or a great-grandchild, genetically speaking (depending upon how many embryos needed to be created in order to complete the sequence), but they would still be a biological descendant nonetheless.

In the case of a heterosexual couple where the man contributed the stem cells which became the egg, and the woman contributed the stem cells which became the sperm (why someone would choose to do this, I don't know, but it doesn't really matter for the purpose of a technical illustration), the man would technically be the mother, and the woman would technically be the father.

Genetic imprinting is actually more pronounced in mice than it is in humans, and it hasn't stopped healthy baby mice from being born thanks to this method.

Wait, wait. Let me see if I've got this right. To create an offspring with 'multiple parents,' A, B, and C, they combine a sperm/egg from A with a sperm/egg from B to create an embryo, and then they create a sperm/egg from the embryo and combine it with C's sperm/egg. Do I have that right? If so, I simply have no words for utterly fucking wrong that is. Imagine one of your parents being a fucking embryo who probably got aborted after it served its purpose.
 

Your Weird Fetish

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Wait, wait. Let me see if I've got this right. To create an offspring with 'multiple parents,' A, B, and C, they combine a sperm/egg from A with a sperm/egg from B to create an embryo, and then they create a sperm/egg from the embryo and combine it with C's sperm/egg. Do I have that right? If so, I simply have no words for utterly fucking wrong that is. Imagine one of your parents being a fucking embryo who probably got aborted after it served its purpose.
Why is it wrong, assuming it actually works right?
 

The best and greatest

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I for one look forward to having slave-tube-children with no women involved. And they shall call me...Emprah!
 

Hellbound Hellhound

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Wait, wait. Let me see if I've got this right. To create an offspring with 'multiple parents,' A, B, and C, they combine a sperm/egg from A with a sperm/egg from B to create an embryo, and then they create a sperm/egg from the embryo and combine it with C's sperm/egg. Do I have that right? If so, I simply have no words for utterly fucking wrong that is. Imagine one of your parents being a fucking embryo who probably got aborted after it served its purpose.

In a word: yes. To create a child between more than two people, you would have to create embryos for the sole purpose of creating further embryos. The ethical questions this raises are certainly interesting (like, what would it be like to grow up knowing that your biological father never existed?), but I wouldn't say that allowing these embryos to become people themselves wouldn't necessarily complicate matters even further. If anything, it just raises a new question about whether or not it is ethical to create a child with someone before they are even born themselves.

I imagine that polyamorous reproduction in particular could create a legal quagmire. If, for instance, person A and person B created an embryo together, and then that embryo was used to create another embryo with person C, person C could quite credibly (from a genetic standpoint) argue that they are the sole living parent, and that person A and B are more like grandparents. I suppose one way around this could be to sign a custody agreement beforehand, but would this stand in court?
 

Hellbound Hellhound

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IVG has been making waves again recently, mostly thanks to the fact that a research article involving the process got published in Science earlier this month. A summary of the study can be read here.

What appears to make this study different is that they actually managed to make egg cells entirely in vitro this time, whereas in previous experiments, they had to bathe the precursor cells in ovarian follicular tissue before they would become functional ova. This represents an important next step.
 

Maurice Caine

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IVG has been making waves again recently, mostly thanks to the fact that a research article involving the process got published in Science earlier this month. A summary of the study can be read here.

What appears to make this study different is that they actually managed to make egg cells entirely in vitro this time, whereas in previous experiments, they had to bathe the precursor cells in ovarian follicular tissue before they would become functional ova. This represents an important next step.
That's pretty cool, think countries can now mitigate their population deficit this time?
 

Adolphin

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Unfortunately, it will be used for desperate degenerates who want to breed instead of improving our gene pool.