A new startup wants to convert human blood cells into viable eggs for IVF

Originally published at: A new startup wants to convert human blood cells into viable eggs for IVF | Boing Boing

1 Like

What a time to be alive?

What a time to be a cell!

1 Like

I mean, look, this might not be impossible, but it’s probably safer to bet that new tech startups are scams than that they aren;t.


Just don’t drop those blood cells; you wouldn’t want to be hit with a wrongful death suit.


The press available makes it seem like just vaporware.


If even a Silicon Valley startup isn’t willing to pretend this is actually possible yet, I don’t expect it to be a reality in the near future. But it’s pretty plausible at some point.

Although, is it not already possible to replace the genetic material in a donor egg? I’m not clear what problem is solved specifically by being able to create the egg cell from scratch.


Some scientists like to address real world problems.

Some just like to play with cool stuff, and then turn it into a solution to a problem we didn’t realise we had. Sometimes that’s good. Sometimes less so. Sometimes it’s the unexpected spin-off that’s good.

1 Like

It’s not a simple procedure. Obtaining viable human donor egg cells is an expensive and invasive undertaking, adding DNA transfer to the process adds yet more complication and expense, and the resulting egg will still carry the mitochondrial DNA of the egg donor.

So if it was possible to create viable eggs from the would-be parent’s own cells it could be a game changer for many infertile couples.


“A woman is born with her full complement of eggs and never makes any more.”

Or, as it turns out, maybe not “After careful assessment of data from a recent study published in PLoS Genetics , scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Edinburgh argue that the findings support formation of new eggs during adult life; a topic that has been historically controversial and has sparked considerable debate in recent years.” Do ovaries continue to produce eggs during adulthood? -- ScienceDaily


Can they make an egg from a cell with XY (male) chromosomes?


I feel like this is the back story to having Clayface in the next Batman movie, with the added bonus of potentially making it female if you are going the fertilization route.
I think he was my favorite villain from the animated series (Mr. Freeze was good, but Arnold kind of ruined that.)


Blood is humans! Wait, no - a drop of blood is a baby! Getting a nose bleed is mass murder! Ah, shoot, we’re going to have to workshop some slogans before they’re ready for the anti-choice crowd…

The process by which eggs are extracted from women is quite unpleasant for the donors, if nothing else (and carries health risks, etc.). Being able to bypass that step alone is nothing to sneeze at.


Haha, i was thinking that too :stuck_out_tongue:

Imagine dropping a blood sample, you’d be charged for mass murder :wink:


Is “zygote personhood” a real world problem? Because the direction that the US is going, with increasingly adamant insistence that “genome is both necessary and sufficient for legal rights” is well on the way to be the law of the land.

1 Like

Eggs are haploid. So are sperm. No particular reason you couldn’t have a Y-bearing egg and an X-bearing sperm.


I look forward to the inevitable legal case in front of some fossil judge, where they have to explain that “he is the egg mother, she is the sperm donor, and she is the host mother.” (Not quite up on The Expanse’s Jim Holden, who has eight parents for tax and real estate reasons, but getting there.)

Pronoun Trouble!

1 Like

Luckily, thanks to decades of corporate personhood, you can find plenty of specialist judges qualified in absurdly technical family law; just don’t tell them that your client is made of meat.


Nothing unusual about X-bearing sperm but an unfertilized egg with a Y chromosome would be pretty novel.


So if I made an egg from my skin cells, then fertilized it with my sperm, would the resulting person be my identical twin? Or more like a fraternal twin? Or much closer?


How do these fixed ideas get planted? It used to be known that we stopped growing new brain cells in our early teens, but there was never any evidence for it. And we now know brains cells are continuously growing and linking, and we probably transfer our very old memories by remembering them. Women may have had many eggs since birth, but we don’t know the process that made them has been fully and irretrievably switched off.

Either way, eggs got made, and what worked once might be made to work again. Yay Science!

1 Like