In this medical health video learn about making babies without a sperm donor or picking your child's gender. Controversial possibilities are on the horizon of the fertility frontier.
Dr. Dean Edell: Babies aren't just made in the bedroom anymore while in vitro is now common, the lines of the fertility frontier have vastly change from lab created sperm to choosing the sex of the baby. Questions in science and ethics surround the quest for baby. The instinct to reproduce ensures the continuation of humanity. Female Speaker: Children can just bring so much joy into your life and I knew that it's something that I wanted to. Dr. Dean Edell: For some, it happens naturally. For others, obstacles of time. Female Speaker: Women are waiting to have a pregnancy. Dr. Dean Edell: In nature. Male Speaker: My sperm count has been inclining steadily. Dr. Dean Edell: Get in the way. Jane Frederick: It's not how important the age of the women is but it's her age of her egg that determines the success. Dr. Dean Edell: Dr. Jane Frederick says the women's egg quality peaks at age 27. Then declines to her 30s, by age 42, a woman has only 5% chance of getting pregnant with her own eggs. Jane Frederick: I've been in practice now over 20 years and I have seen huge changes in the way that we can-- the treatment that we can offer these women. Dr. Dean Edell: Doctors are able to freeze embryos and sperm but have less success freezing eggs because eggs have high water content. Jane Frederick: And egg doesn't survive when you fight. Dr. Dean Edell: A recent breakthrough in the cryoprotected used in egg freezing that will preserve the egg without the ice crystals. Little know but doesn't realize yet how unique he is. One of the first babies ever to be conceived with a frozen egg from his mom and frozen donor sperm. Female Speaker: I just want him to have a normal life. Dr. Dean Edell: In one third of infertile couples, it's due to male infertility. As was the case with Steven and Melissa (ph) James. Male Speaker: Not zero sperm but really low motility and low count. Dr. Dean Edell: because Steven had some sperm, they were able to use in vitro fertilization to conceive her daughter Kathy. In cases, where men has no sperm, donors are used. But some couples desire a biological link to both parents. Wolfgang Engel: We are trying to generate sperm artificial sperm and we hope that we can help these couples. Dr. Dean Edell: German researchers are growing sperm from very early cells called germ cells taken from testicles. Experiments with mice have been successful. Wolfgang Engel: If it works in the mouse, I am sure it'll also will work in the human. Dr. Dean Edell: But is doesn't in there. Researchers are trying to grow sperm from a female germ cell which could then be used to fertilize another woman's egg. Wolfgang Engel: It might be possible that in the future, perhaps, we are able to have to get a child from two women. Dr. Dean Edell: Creating a baby from lab grown sperm is very controversial. Ken Goodman: The experimental process takes a long time, what do you do with the experiments of making babies and then I'll come out right the first couple of times. Dr. Dean Edell: Another area of the fertility frontier is also raising huge ethical questions, Jeffrey Steinberg: If they want a boy, we give them only boys and if they want a girl, we give them only girls. Dr. Dean Edell: Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis or PGD, once only done to separate healthy embryo from unhealthy ones. It's now done to determine the sex of an embryo and then only the chosen gender is implanted. Jeffrey Steinberg: In thousands of cases, we've ever gone wrong. Dr. Dean Edell: Gender selection is legal in the US but illegal in many countries including China, India, Germany, the UK, and Canada. Tarun Jain: I think there are still many people who strongly feel that this should not be allowed. Dr. Dean Edell: Legal or not, many US clinics won't do it. Ken Goodman: The idea the we choose one sex over another is something that ethics requires you give a good reason and all the reasons that most of us can think of are not very good. Dr. Dean Edell: Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg thinks it's just a matter of time before it becomes more accepted. Jeffrey Steinberg: It's new, we know it's controversial, it scares people but I've been doing in vitro fertilization for 30 years and 30 years ago in vitro fertilization was new. Dr. Dean Edell: Major health organizations don't agree on the issue. Well, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposed the gender selection for personal selection reasons, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says it's okay.