Human eggs which could grow into embryos have been created in a laboratory for the first time, scientists announced yesterday.
They were created by scraping stem cells off the surface of ovaries and exposing them to a chemical which stimulated growth.
The breakthrough suggests limitless supplies of eggs could be grown, solving the problem of the acute shortage of donor eggs for infertile women wanting IVF treatment.
While that sounds like a breakthrough for the childless, I suspect the real reason for the research is something else entirely.
The process, developed at the University of Tennessee, may solve a problem for embryonic stem cell researchers. To study embryonic stem cells, you need embryos. Embryos come from eggs. The only source of human eggs until now has been human women, who must be paid for their eggs–and possibly encouraged to take powerful hormones to hyperovulate so the process is more efficient.
The ability to farm eggs in the lab eliminates those issues. And it keeps the money in the hands of Big Biotech.