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Reproduction

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Reproduction ...

In vitro fertilisation was first successfully used in 1978. As of 2005 more than 1% of all children born in developed countries are conceived in vitro.

In 2006 pre-conception sex selection using sperm-separation technology entered clinical trials in the United States. Interestingly, only about 8% of people are interested in selecting the sex of their children. [1]

This and other Assisted Reproductive Technologies will be used in the future much more often.

Human cloning is another approach that can be used for reproduction. In 2004 successful cloning of 30 human embryos was reported by Korean scientists [2].

genetic engineering - fixing genetic errors - creating a human from scratch or by using fragments of "good" code from several people - any number of parents - non-sexual reproduction - homosexual parents (already)

Women will also be able to have children at much older age (66-year-old woman gave birth in 2004 [3]), thanks to better medical technologies.

The research into artificial womb is driven by demand in two separate areas: 1) better outcomes for premature babies and 2) improvement in IVF effectiveness. As a result of that, ectogenesis seems to be experiencing breakthroughs.

In 2002, a team at Cornell University used cells from a human uterus to grow an artificial womb. When a fertilized egg was introduced, it implanted itself in the uterus wall. [4] Scientists in Juntendo University in Japan has been removing fetuses from goats and keeping them alive for weeks in clear plastic tanks of amniotic fluid with machine-driven 'umbilical cords'. [5]

Today children born prematurily as early as at 24 weeks (a normal pregnancy is 40 weeks) can be saved in 50% of cases using incubators in Neonatal Intensive Care Units (in some cases as little as 21 weeks [6]). Eventually an artificial womb will be made, allowing a fetus to gestate outside of the mother. Estimates place this development somewhere between 2010 [7] and 2020 [8]. Combined with the use of frozen sperm and eggs and cloned embryos, this will eventually make "artificial" creation of humans possible. It will also be possible to genetically engineer the child, fixing the DNA of the "parent" or creating a complete genome from scratch.

A fertility clinic was open in Nottinham, UK in 2006, where pre-natal genetic screening is used. Embryos are tested for up to 100 inherited gene disorders before implantation.

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This is a factual article as opposed to fiction or scenario. It describes the current state of the field and explains expected future developments without speculation or fantasy.

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