When it comes to genetic engineering, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), and new reproductive technologies, a lot of progress has been made in recent years. New research pushing the boundaries of how we define, control, and treat biological entities and life itself is welcomed by some and a source of fear for others. As the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law and professor by courtesy of genetics at Stanford University, Dr. Hank Greely’s work centers around the ethical, social, and legal implications of advances in the biosciences, and he joins the podcast today to discuss skin-derived pluripotent stem cells and what he sees as the coming revolution in human reproduction.
It’s already been done in mice, and an attempt to do it using human cells might not be a far-off reality: the joining of sperm and egg cells developed from skin-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), and the consequent creation of healthy infants. For those couples who can’t have genetic children of their own due to infertility for any number of reasons, this new reproductive technology holds great promise. And according to Dr. Greely, the same might even be true for homosexual couples who have functional gametes, but only one kind.
Dr. Greely is also the author of The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction, a book which details the many potential implications and possibilities that could arise in the very near future of human existence. Just imagine being able to thumb through a pamphlet with your significant other, deciding how to essentially “design” your future child and having the ability to choose embryos with the lowest chances of developing certain genetic diseases.
Interested in learning more? Press play, find his book on Amazon and check out https://law.stanford.edu/directory/henry-t-greely/#slsnav-featured-video.