Cutting-edge methods could revolutionize how babies are made. Fertility treatments could improve, and women could conceive children later in life. Here are some methods being developed:
• “THREE-PARENT” EMBRYOS: Certain inherited conditions, such as muscular dystrophy, are caused by damaged mitochondria (energy cells) in the embryo. In so-called “three-parent” in-vitro fertilization, the nucleus from the parents’ embryo is implanted in an embryo with healthy mitochondria. In another method, the nucleus from the mother's egg is implanted into a healthy donor egg.
• STEM CELLS INTO EGG CELLS: Experiments show that skin cells can be transformed into stem cells, versatile cells that can grow to become any type of cell in the body. Sperm or eggs could thus be created from the parents’ skin.
• WOMB TRANSPLANT SURGERY could allow women with a missing or damaged uterus to conceive through in-vitro fertilization.
• GENETIC SCREENING could identify potential diseases in the offspring and increase its life span.