An international consortium of scientists called Hinxton
Group has indicated that in as little as five years from now, they may be able
to grow sperm and eggs from ordinary cells. This means that the need for
traditional conception would be obliterated.
The declaration of the scientists assumes significance
because last year scientists had been able to convert skin cells into
pluripotent stem cells (PSC). The latter have the capability of converting into
any type of body cells.
However this procedure is not without controversy as
there is always the possibility that the same person may donate both sperm and
eggs. Ruth Faden, a bioethecist at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg
School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland admitted that the procedure
would remain controversial.
The Hinxton Group has
acknowledged the ethical concerns, but has stressed that thus far scientists
have not made sperm from female bodies and eggs from males. The group also said
that such technology would help infertile couples and would assist in reproductive
research as well.