Is IVG The Successor to IVF?
The future of IVF could mean that there is no longer a need for sperm or egg in order to create an embryo. This new technology is called In Vitro Gametogenesis, or IVG, and has already been successfully used in mice. In that experiment, a baby mouse was created from DNA taken from skin cells, as opposed to from sperm and egg.
The process works by taking skin cells and reassigning them to act as either sperm or eggs in a petri dish. Researchers hope that this technology, once available and tested on human subjects, could open the door to creating biological families for parents that could not pursue IVF methods. In this approach, it is realistic to think that a biological child could come from a parent or set of parents who are unable to donate healthy eggs, sperm, or both.
That opens the door for biological children to same sex couples as well as to men and women who were left infertile by cancer treatments or face other infertility struggles.
In addition to possessing the potential to create embryos without sperm and egg, the process used in this method means that future egg donors or intended mothers would not need to subject themselves to the hormone therapy regimen that currently precedes egg retrieval.
To date there are no active plans to attempt this technology on human subjects. Scientists are quick to note that the complexities of the human reproductive system are far more advanced than those seen in mice, and note that the jump from success in mice to success in humans could be many years away.