From skin to egg

Tony Perry of Bath University argues that skin cells could be used to creat mammalian embryos, both of endangered species and humans. As a fertility treatment for humans, this has several potential applications.

Many women have trouble to combine having children and a career, as female biology “forces” them to have kids in the twenties and thirties – a period in life crucial to career development. At the moment women could freeze their eggs to circumvent this problem, and some companies offer this service to their employees. However, this requires some foresight and if a woman is already in her forties, it is simply to late.

But if skin cells could be used, then there is no need to collect eggs (which is an invasive procedure) and to store those (which cost a substantial amount of money). Instead skin cells could be collected whenever a woman decides it is time to become a mother.

And if artificial uteri become a reality, then women will have no disadvantage in career development compared to their male colleagues in regard of parenthood.

Another application of this technology is allowing gay couples to have their own children. Though this would still require either surrogates or artificial uteri.