July 18: AS Louise Brown, the world’s first test tube baby,
celebrates her 30th birthday in July, scientists have predicted
that women as old as 100 years will be able to give birth
within next three decades.
Making predictions about potential advances in reproductive
medicine in the science journal, Nature, scientists said techniques,
like the experiment to create sperm and eggs from skin cells
and unite them to form embryos, are in the process of development.
means every person regardless of age will be able to have
children. Newborn children could have children and 100-year-olds
could have children. It could easily happen in the next 30
years," Davor Solter, of the Institute of Biology, Singapore,
said. "I have no idea if the technique will be used,
but it means you could have millions of gametes that could
be combined at will. Today you can’t experiment on human embryos
because it’s considered morally repugnant — and they are difficult
to get. If embryos could be grown in culture like any other
cell line, this latter problem would disappear," he added.
pioneer Alan Trounson, who is director of the California Institute
for Regenerative Medicine in San Francisco, said: "I
think it will be possible that we’ll be able to extend the
fertile period for women by producing germ cells from iPS
technology, or by a variant of nuclear transfer, so somatic
cells become germ cells and are refreshed genetically."
would also be able to opt for a "designer" baby,
where they choose characteristics like hair colour, height,
intelligence and disease-free genes. The scientists also predicted
that ectogenesis, a process in which the foetus develops outside
the body in an artificial uterus, is also possible in the
next 30 years.