* What happens to humanity when technological civilization has a hiccup, if it can only reproduce with access to advanced technology?
* What happens to human rights when reproduction can only occur with the assent of the authority that controls the technological means of reproduction?
Perhaps the research should be focused on diagnosing and permanently curing the underlying causes of infertility, than on trying to work around them?
Also humans are currently evolving to need technology to give birth due to the use of C-sections anyway .
I don't think it matters in the long term as you seem to believe. Within a few hundred years we'll probably have widespread genetic engineering or at least manual selection of traits. So in the short term this technology will help make people happy, and in the medium term the evolutionary effects on the human gene pool will be irrelevant.
Isn't this a variation on the idea that the internet would render censorship obsolete and ineffective?
Also a common cause of infertility that this technology will be helping with, will be old age. And though not marrying when you are young is not the smartest thing from evolutionary point of view, it's not harmful genetic mutation, and there is no good reason for medicine to not help these people.
My imagination sort of goes wild with this sort of thing. You could imagine governments or companies creating clonal populations of genetically engineered humans as a captive labor force. Or wealthy individuals creating genetically enhanced "clones" of themselves, many of which would probably be horribly mutated
Most of those scenarios will probably not be possible due to regulation, and the more likely near term outcomes are actually very positive: curing monogenic (or potentially even more complex) genetic diseases for one example. I'd expect a lot of VC investment into this area in the next 5 years, and I'd expect to see a lot more articles like this as people try to prepare the public / regulators for this new technology
We can still hunt, farm, eat, and reproduce without it, but not at present population scales. As a result any technological failure would trigger an apocalyptic Malthusian scenario that would probably climax with global thermonuclear war over remaining resources.
I'd say we passed the technological point of no return on July 16th, 1945:
The giant "kaboom" heard in the desert that day was the sound an evolutionary ratchet clicking. It is no longer possible to go backward without catastrophe.
But isn't that a double edge? As we've scaled so has the depth & breadth of the consequences of that expansion.
I'm no Luddite. But this coin has two sides. It often feel as if we're having to reach further (and the risks increase) as one scientific solution leads to others, and so on.
(I suspect that there's also simply less selection pressure, in the sense that more people are having 1 or 2 kids, vs. in historical times where the emperor my have had 1000, a wealthy man dozens, and lots of paupers ended up with no kids at all. That has the effect of letting lots of genetic variation into the genome without immediately weeding it out, at least until some selection event occurs in the future.)
This advance, combined with our ability to rapidly and precisely genetically engineer zygotes with CRISPR, has some incredibly amazing and some incredibly scary implications. We can already generate viable eggs from cells in mice's tails, fertilize those eggs, and edit the genomes of those zygotes precisely to produce custom genetically engineered mice (genetically engineered mice are a core tech in the biopharma research industry).
These technologies enable an unprecedented advance in the precision and throughput of this process and it seems very likely we will be able to do this in humans in 10-15 years. Factory-scale generation of zygotes and high throughput editing of those zygotes. I'd argue this topic deserves the same level of ethical scrutiny as AGI, if not more, as at least to me it seems that this tech is far closer to becoming a reality. My imagination may be getting away from me, but industrial scale human zygote editing seems like it could be the most significant (for good or evil) technological advance in our lifetime
> We can take skin cells, turn them into stem cells, and turn those into viable eggs.
How accurate of a copy of the parent's genetic material is this likely to be, compared to a naturally-produced gamete? Skin being the exterior organ that forms the body's first line of defense, it is subject to constant attacks and damage from without. As an example, the amount of accumulated genetic damage from sunburns is going to increase as a person grows older. So then, for this to be used on humans, would not the ideal place to take skin from be someplace that gets infrequent sun exposure, like say, the buttocks or thighs?
> These technologies enable an unprecedented advance in the precision and throughput of this process and it seems very likely we will be able to do this in humans in 10-15 years.
If it's available in 10-15 years, it probably won't be available to me and my partner, but it (or perhaps something better) may be available to any future children when they are ready to have children of their own. Something to keep an eye on.
> "What if there are parents who wanted to select for Tay-Sachs disease?"
I doubt there are any would-be parents out there who want a child with a 5-year death sentence. Judging by the sentence immediately following:
> "There are plenty of people in Silicon Valley who are somewhere on the spectrum, and some of them will want children who are neuro-atypical.”
...I suspect the author intended "Tay-Sachs" to be "Autism".
"Yet a funny thing happened, or didn’t, in the decades that followed: Millions of babies were conceived using IVF."
This doesn't address everything. Certainly, the health of the baby is important, but that's not the only problem. Another problem is the destruction of fertilized human embryos that IVF currently entails. However, even if we assume that we can perfect the technology to such a degree that none of this is an issue. We still have to contend with things like the commodification of human beings and the transformation of human beings into products to be made and sold, and made the subjects of economic transactions. Our acceptance and aggressive defense of such reproductive technologies may be another example of consumerism's hold on our values.
So far it doesn't seem to be excessively dangerous, but we really just don't know.
In other words, the fact that something should logically be safe certainly counts for something, but not as evidence.
40 years without any such indication is fairly strong evudence, IMO.
2) It stands to reason that while some infertility is caused by issues that having nothing to do with the genetics of the sperm or egg (e.g. vitamin E deficiency), other cases may be caused by genetic conditions that have coevolved to cause fertility issues to prevent them from being passed along.
3) You'd have to completely rule out the possibility of sexual selection at the gamete level, even though this idea has been gaining traction in the last few years.
IVF: Seems logically sound, since it is doing the same thing that happens in natural conception, just outside the body.
But in vitro gametogenesis (IVG)—the technique the article talks about—could logically have similar issues to cloning.
For example, telomere shortening & accumulated DNA damage come to mind, but I'm no expert.
(Our son is now 16 months old and amazing.)
The population is already here. It's just unevenly distributed.
 Recognizing the “Unpeople” - https://chomsky.info/20120107-2/
 A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Modest_Proposal
It would be interesting to see long terms studies of the families of IF or similar technology driven conceptions.
If Mother Nature is speaking, how wise it to ignore her?
These people wont have better paying jobs when they are older. It makes little difference financially.