In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG)
Definition - What does In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG) mean?
In vitro gametogenesis (IVG) is an artificial process where an immature cell is transformed into a sperm or an egg cell outside the body. This is an emerging technology in assisted reproduction that is still in an experimental stage on animals. In vitro gametogenesis has the potential to treat male or female infertility due to abnormalities in germ cells and give birth to a child carrying their own genes.
FertilitySmarts explains In Vitro Gametogenesis (IVG)
There is a type of cell in the human body that has the ability to transform into any type of cell depending on the need. These cells are called stem cells. Cellular mechanisms and messenger molecules can signal these cells to mature structurally and functionally into another type of cells and take on a whole new role.
The sperm in males and the egg in females are collectively known as germ cells or gametes. They are normally developed from stem cells that are in the ovaries and testes. When given the appropriate signal, stem cells taken from any other site, for example, the skin, also can be transformed into a germ cell. This is particularly helpful for patients experiencing infertility due to their inability to produce normal germ cells as a result of genetic, hormonal or reproductive organ abnormalities.
In vitro gametogenesis is still experimental. So far, scientist have been able to successfully reproduce mice using this technology, and they predict that it could be used for humans within the next 10-20 years.
This process, however, is not without social issues and ethical concerns. To some, IVG can be interpreted as a method of designing humans or manipulating the natural way of reproduction. To others, with strict regulation and ethical review, IVG has the potential to be the ultimate cure for infertility.