For the first time ever, scientists have grown a sperm and an egg in a lab
Human eggs and sperm have been grown in a laboratory, in research that could change the face of reproduction.
According to reports in the Daily Mail, the sperm had heads and short tails and are thought to have been mature enough to fertilise an egg.
The eggs were at a much earlier stage but were still much more developed than any created so far by other scientists.
The double success, published in the journal Nature, raises the prospect of men and women one day ‘growing’ their own sperm and eggs for use in IVF treatments.
The American team used stem cells taken from embryos in the first days of life but hope to repeat the process with slivers of skin. The skin cells would first be exposed to a mixture that wound back their biological clocks to embryonic stem cell state, before being transformed into sperm or eggs.
Starting with a person’s own skin would also mean the lab-grown sperm or eggs would not be rejected by the body.
The science also raises the possibility of ‘male eggs’ made from men’s skin and ‘female sperm’ from women’s skin.