Engineering:Reproductive technology

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Short description: Uses of technology in human and animal reproduction
Reproductive technology encompasses all current and anticipated uses of technology in human and animal reproduction, including assisted reproductive technology, contraception and others. It is also termed Assisted Reproductive Technology, where it entails an array of appliances and procedures that enable the realization of safe, improved and healthier reproduction. While this is not true of all men and women, for an array of married couples, the ability to have children is vital. But through the technology, infertile couples have been provided with options that would allow them to conceive children.[1]


Assisted reproductive technology

Main page: Engineering:Assisted reproductive technology

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is the use of reproductive technology to treat low fertility or infertility. Modern technology can provide infertile coupled with assisted reproductive technologies. The natural method of reproduction has become only one of many new techniques used today. There are millions of couples that do not have the ability to reproduce on their own because of infertility and therefore, must resort to these new techniques. The main causes of infertility are that of hormonal malfunctions and anatomical abnormalities.[2] ART is currently the only form of l uterus, for example, for the time being can only conceive through surrogacy methods).[3] 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,[4] and semen analysis in males.[5]


Contraception, also known as birth control, is a form of reproductive technology that enables people to prevent pregnancy.[6] There are many forms of contraception, but the term covers any method or device which is intended to prevent pregnancy in a sexually active woman. Methods are intended to "prevent the fertilization of an egg or implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus."[7] Different forms of birth control have been around since ancient times, but widely available effective and safe methods only became available during the mid-1900s.[8]


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

Same-sex procreation

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.[9] 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[13][14]

In 2008, research was done specifically for methods on creating human female sperm using artificial or natural Y chromosomes and testicular transplantation.[15] 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.[2]

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.[16][17]


Main pages: Philosophy:Bioethics and Philosophy:Human enhancement

Recent technological advances in fertility treatments introduce ethical dilemmas, such as the affordability of the various procedures. The exorbitant prices can limit who has access.[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.[18][19][20] 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 re-productively healthy people.[21]

In fiction

  • Films and other fiction depicting contemporary emotional struggles of assisted reproductive technology have had an upswing first in the latter part of the 2000s decade, although the techniques have been available for decades.[22]
  • Science fiction has tackled the themes of creating life through non-conventional methods since Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. In the 20th century, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932) was the first major fictional work to anticipate the possible social consequences of reproductive technology. Its largely negative view was reversed when the author revisited the same themes in his utopian final novel, Island (1962).


  1. "Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonists for assisted reproductive technology". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 4 (8): CD001750. April 2016. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001750.pub4. PMID 27126581. PMC 8626739. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 MacRae, Fiona (February 2008). "Scientists turn bone marrow into sperm". Australia: The Courier and Mail. 
  3. "Bioengineering the Uterus: An Overview of Recent Advances and Future Perspectives in Reproductive Medicine". Annals of Biomedical Engineering 45 (7): 1710–1717. July 2017. doi:10.1007/s10439-016-1783-3. PMID 28028711. 
  4. "The ageing ovary and uterus: new biological insights". Human Reproduction Update 19 (1): 67–83. 2012. doi:10.1093/humupd/dms043. PMID 23103636. 
  5. "Trends and correlates of the sex distribution among U.S. assisted reproductive technology births". Fertility and Sterility 112 (2): 305–314. August 2019. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2019.03.034. PMID 31088685. 
  6. "Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance - United States, 2015". MMWR. Surveillance Summaries 67 (3): 1–28. February 2018. doi:10.15585/mmwr.ss6703a1. PMID 29447147. PMC 5829941. 
  7. "Definition of Birth control". MedicineNet. 
  8. "Fertility control: contraception, sterilization, and abortion". The Johns Hopkins manual of gynecology and obstetrics (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2010. pp. 382–395. ISBN 978-1-60547-433-5. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Kissin, Dmitry M.; Adamson, G. David; Chambers, Georgina; DeGeyter, Christian (2019-07-04). Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-108-49858-6. 
  10. "Assisted reproductive technology with donor sperm: national trends and perinatal outcomes". American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 218 (4): 421.e1–421.e10. April 2018. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2017.12.224. PMID 29291411. 
  11. US patent 5858354 Repopulation of testicular Seminiferous tubules with foreign cells, corresponding resultant germ cells, and corresponding resultant animals and progeny
  12. "Differentiation of female chicken primordial germ cells into spermatozoa in male gonads". Development, Growth & Differentiation 39 (3): 267–71. June 1997. doi:10.1046/j.1440-169X.1997.t01-2-00002.x. PMID 9227893. 
  13. "Birth of parthenogenetic mice that can develop to adulthood". Nature 428 (6985): 860–4. April 2004. doi:10.1038/nature02402. PMID 15103378. Bibcode2004Natur.428..860K. 
  14. "Assisted reproductive technology: prevalence and associated factors in Southern Brazil". Revista de Saúde Pública 53: 13. January 2019. doi:10.11606/s1518-8787.2019053000737. PMID 30726494. PMC 6390642. 
  15. "Color illustration of female sperm making process". Human Samesex Reproduction Project. 
  16. McRae, Mike (11 October 2018). "Chinese Researchers Have Spawned Healthy Mice With 2 Biological Mothers And No Father". Science Alert. 
  17. "Generation of Bimaternal and Bipaternal Mice from Hypomethylated Haploid ESCs with Imprinting Region Deletions". Cell Stem Cell 23 (5): 665–676.e4. November 2018. doi:10.1016/j.stem.2018.09.004. PMID 30318303. 
  18. "Advanced maternal age: ethical and medical considerations for assisted reproductive technology". International Journal of Women's Health 9: 561–570. 16 August 2017. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S139578. PMID 28860865. 
  19. "Assisted reproductive technology has no association with autism spectrum disorders: The Taiwan Birth Cohort Study". Autism 22 (3): 377–384. April 2018. doi:10.1177/1362361317690492. PMID 29153004. 
  20. Adashi, Eli Y.; Rock, John A.; Rosenwaks, Zev (1996). Reproductive endocrinology, surgery, and technology. Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven. pp. 1394–1410. 
  21. "Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance - United States, 2016". MMWR. Surveillance Summaries 68 (4): 1–23. April 2019. doi:10.15585/mmwr.ss6804a1. PMID 31022165. 
  22. Mastony, Colleen (21 June 2009). "Heartache of infertility shared on stage, screen". Chicago Tribune.