A Silicon Valley startup, Conception, is exploring ways to turn blood into human eggs to rewrite the rules of reproduction. Founded by former Y-Combinator employee Matt Krisiloff, the startup has raised $20 million from prominent tech figures to propagate artificial egg production. The startup is first attempting to make replacement eggs for women, which is scientifically easier than making eggs from male cells and already has market demand. Conception’s technology represents an ethical dilemma for many as the process of making eggs from stem cells has required human fetal tissue. However, researchers believe that the wide use of the technology is probably still 15 years away.

Zoom Out: Conception's technology would create a massive breakthrough in reproduction, potentially allowing “wide-scale genomic selection and editing in embryos.” Here's what it would mean:

  • It would enable women without ovaries to have biologically related children.
  • Any age restrictions on reproduction would be removed.
  • Theoretically, a cell from a man could be turned into an egg, allowing same-sex couples to have children.
  • It would allow even one individual -or four- to generate offspring.
  • The concept of “designer babies” would be significantly accelerated as doctors could produce and fertilize thousands of eggs to pick the best embryos.
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