Today, we reproduced in the same manner that we had done from the beginning: by having sex. However, as time progresses, the process may evolve to the point where humans no longer need sex in order to have offspring.
Joyce Harper, a British lecturer at the University College of London, believes this to be the case. The first test-tube baby was born about 40 years ago, and breakthroughs in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) technology are currently being implemented, suggesting that this approach may soon become the predominant mode of childbearing.
The study takes into consideration the fact that the issue of infertility – which is becoming more serious – will not diminish in the future. She also points out that women who are more career-oriented tend to have children later in life, which has an impact on the quality of the eggs. She also believes that in the future, all couples of the same sex would be able to have access to kids with relative ease.
“There will come a moment when the vast majority of humans will no longer have the ability to procreate,” she said in an interview with Newsweek magazine. According to her, “it is possible that women will not even be able to bear children in the future, and that sex will be undertaken solely for pleasure.”
She goes on to say that by the end of the century, more than 150 million people will be dependent on assisted reproduction techniques such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF), donated ova and gametes (donor eggs), and surrogacy.
Taking things, a step further, Joyce Harper explains that not only might in vitro fertilization (IVF) become the norm within a few years but that we will also be able to identify embryos at risk of health problems via genetic testing.
The cost of sequencing someone’s genome has dropped to roughly $1,000, and the technology is becoming more quick, according to her. It can be completed in just 24 hours, and I believe that it will become much more affordable in the near future. For example, we may examine an embryo for cancer, a tendency to heart disease, diabetes, or allergies, among other things. The embryo could be delivered to the mother and we could do all of these tests before she even knew she was pregnant.
Then, of course, there will be ethical and health considerations to consider. Indeed, a team of Chinese experts revealed a few years ago that they had edited the DNA of two newborn twins in order to make them immune to the AIDS virus. The scientific community was outraged and concerned, and general condemnation followed. Indeed, even if we leave aside the ethical considerations that are unavoidably raised when it comes to modifying “life,” we are left with a slew of additional issues.
In this particular instance, it is true that genetic alteration will enable these twins to avoid contracting HIV. The problem, according to Mazhar Adli, a geneticist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in the United States, is that “the deleted gene, called CCR5, has a lot more functions than just helping to limit HIV infection,” as evidenced by its impact on the proper functioning of white blood cells, among other things.
Aside from that, genes are continually interacting with one another. As the researcher adds, “the deletion of a single gene has the potential to alter not just the functioning of other genes, but also the overall behavior of the cell and the phenotypic of the organism.”
Consequently, there is little question that all of these new treatments will in the future be subjected to rigorous oversight, both from a health and legal aspect. In any case, whether it is IVF or gene editing, it looks that these artificial means of childbearing will become more popular in the next decades. In 30, 40, or 50 years, it is possible that naturally conceiving children may be a thing of the past.