Reproductive technology

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Reproductive technology encompasses all current and anticipated uses of technology in human and animal reproduction, including assisted reproductive technology, contraception and others.


Assisted reproductive technology[edit]

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is the use of reproductive technology to treat low fertility or infertility. ART is currently the only form of reproductive technology in clinical use, and is more effective in those suffering from ovulatory disorders or endometriosis (those without a functional uterus, for example, for the time being can only conceive through surrogacy methods).[1] Examples of ART include in vitro fertilization and its possible expansions, including:


Reproductive technology can inform family planning by providing individual prognoses regarding the likelihood of pregnancy. It facilitates the monitoring of ovarian reserve, follicular dynamics and associated biomarkers in females,[2] and semen analysis in males.


Contraception is a form of reproductive technology that enables people to control their fertility.


The following reproductive techniques are not currently in routine clinical use; most are still undergoing development:

Same-sex procreation[edit]

Research is currently investigating the possibility of same-sex procreation, which would produce offspring with equal genetic contributions from either two females or two males. This form of reproduction has become a possibility through the creation of either female sperm (containing the genetic material of a female) or male eggs (containing the genetic material of a male). Same-sex procreation would remove the need for lesbian and gay couples to rely on a third party donation of a sperm or an egg for reproduction.

The first significant development occurred in 1991, in a patent application filed by U.Penn. scientists to fix male sperm by extracting some sperm, correcting a genetic defect in vitro, and injecting the sperm back into the male's testicles.[3] While the vast majority of the patent application dealt with male sperm, one line suggested that the procedure would work with XX cells, i.e., cells from an adult woman to make female sperm.

In the two decades that followed, the idea of female sperm became more of a reality. In 1997, scientists partially confirmed such techniques by creating chicken female sperm in a similar manner.[4] They did so by injecting blood stem cells from an adult female chicken into a male chicken's testicles. In 2004, other Japanese scientists created two female offspring by combining the eggs of two adult mice.[5]

In 2008, research was done specifically for methods on creating human female sperm using artificial or natural Y chromosomes and testicular transplantation.[6] A UK-based group predicted they would be able to create human female sperm within five years. So far no conclusive successes have been achieved.[7]

In 2018 Chinese research scientists produced 29 viable mice offspring from two mother mice by creating sperm-like structures from haploid Embryonic stem cells using gene editing to alter imprinted regions of DNA. They were unable to get viable offspring from two fathers. Experts noted that there was little chance of these techniques being applied to humans in the near future.[8][9]


Many issues of reproductive technology have given rise to bioethical issues, since technology often alters the assumptions that lie behind existing systems of sexual and reproductive morality. Other ethical considerations arise with the application of ART to women of advanced maternal age, who have higher changes of medical complications (including pre-eclampsia), and possibly in the future its application to post-menopausal women.[10]

Also, ethical issues of human enhancement arise when reproductive technology has evolved to be a potential technology for not only reproductively inhibited people but even for otherwise reproductively healthy people.

See individual subarticles for details

In fiction[edit]


  1. ^ Campo, Hannes; Cervelló, Irene; Simón, Carlos (2016). "Bioengineering the Uterus: An Overview of Recent Advances and Future Perspectives in Reproductive Medicine". Annals of Biomedical Engineering. 45 (7): 1710–1717. doi:10.1007/s10439-016-1783-3. PMID 28028711.
  2. ^ Nelson, S. M.; Telfer, E. E.; Anderson, R. A. (2012). "The ageing ovary and uterus: New biological insights". Human Reproduction Update. 19 (1): 67–83. doi:10.1093/humupd/dms043. PMC 3508627. PMID 23103636.
  3. ^ US 5858354  Repopulation of testicular Seminiferous tubules with foreign cells, corresponding resultant germ cells, and corresponding resultant animals and progeny
  4. ^ Tagami T, Matsubara Y, Hanada H, Naito M (June 1997). "Differentiation of female chicken primordial germ cells into spermatozoa in male gonads". Dev Growth Differ. 39 (3): 267–71. doi:10.1046/j.1440-169X.1997.t01-2-00002.x. PMID 9227893.
  5. ^ Kono, Tomohiro; Obata, Yayoi; Wu, Quiong; Niwa, Katsutoshi; Ono, Yukiko; Yamamoto, Yuji; Park, Eun Sung; Seo, Jeong-Sun; Ogawa, Hidehiko (1 April 2004). "Birth of parthenogenetic mice that can develop to adulthood". Nature. 428 (6985): 860–864. doi:10.1038/nature02402. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 15103378.
  6. ^ "Color illustration of female sperm making process" (PDF). Human Samesex Reproduction Project.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ MacRae, Fiona (1 February 2008). "Scientists turn bone marrow into sperm". The Courier and Mail (Australia – Feb. 2008).
  8. ^ McRae, Mike (11 October 2018). "Chinese Researchers Have Spawned Healthy Mice With 2 Biological Mothers And No Father". Science Alert. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  9. ^ Li, Zhi-Kun; Wang, Le-Yun; Wang, Li-Bin; Feng, Gui-Hai; Yuan, Xue-Wei; Liu, Chao; Xu, Kai; Li, Yu-Huan; Wan, Hai-Feng (1 October 2018). "Generation of Bimaternal and Bipaternal Mice from Hypomethylated Haploid ESCs with Imprinting Region Deletions". Cell Stem Cell. 23 (5): 665–676.e4. doi:10.1016/j.stem.2018.09.004. ISSN 1934-5909. PMID 30318303.
  10. ^ Harrison, Brittany J; Hilton, Tara N; Riviere, Raphael N; Ferraro, Zachary M; Deonandan, Raywat; Walker, Mark C (16 August 2017). "Advanced maternal age: ethical and medical considerations for assisted reproductive technology". International Journal of Women's Health. 9: 561–570. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S139578. PMC 5566409. PMID 28860865.
  11. ^ Colleen Mastony (21 June 2009). "Heartache of infertility shared on stage, screen". Chicago Tribune.